Apple Pudding Bread is a spiced dessert bread recipe from Ascension Lutheran’s 1989 community cookbook. The recipe’s author was a longtime member and mother of three. She was an avid bridge player and teacher and her husband served in various lay leadership positions at the church. In the recipe description she brags that Apple Pudding Bread was selected for the Beta Sigma Phi International Dessert Cookbook. I’m not sure what would make this dessert “international”, and from the ingredient list it wasn’t immediately clear what would make this “pudding bread”. There’s no instant pudding mix. No cream and eggs to make a custard. And yes I know that the British call everything “pudding”, but I wouldn’t expect it from a third or fourth generation Wisconsinite.
But when you make this bread it becomes clear that the “pudding” in the name means to the “sticky toffee” variety. When I first cut myself a slice I was worried that I had burned it, but that brown crusty bit along the bottom is caramelized sugar. Through some miracle of diffusion and gravity, the sugar pools at the bottom and gives it a sticky sweet “crust”. It’s not hard or crackly, but more like if you had dipped or soaked the bread in caramel sauce.
Now I don’t bake very often, so this may be obvious to some of you, but on my first goaround I wasn’t sure whether the dough would actually come together to form anything resembling bread. After adding the flour the “dough” was just a bunch of disaggregated crumbs and I wondered if the award-winning recipe was missing an ingredient. There just didn’t seem to be enough moisture for the thing to hold together. Adding the apples made things a little bit better, but the crumby mixture that went into the loaf pan didn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
I was, of course, entirely wrong. This bread is amazing and worth bragging about. I don’t know a whole lot about Beta Sigma Phi or their standards for recipes, but this is a cut above your standard dessert bread. Maybe several cuts. And, aside from peeling apples (which always seems like a chore), it’s impossibly easy to make. My only concern is whether a bread like this will keep well; I’m not sure the gooey toffee ‘crust’ would be even remotely the same the next day. Bit it’s unlikely that I’ll ever know for sure. Whenever I make this it’s gone in a couple of hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and shortening in a large mixing bowl. Add egg and mix briefly.
- In a small mixing bowl stir dry ingredients together. Add to the creamed sugar and shortening and mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Stir in chopped apples with a wooden spoon.
- Grease a bread pan. Pour mixture into a bread pan. Bake 45 -60 minutes until bread is nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.