Fall is all about pumpkins, apples, baking and hearty comfort food, so when we got a hold of chef John Brandt-Lee’s recipe for apple cider donut bread pudding from Avalon Restaurant in West Chester, we couldn’t wait to share it. See the recipe come together here, then get to work! We promise you won’t be disappointed. To sign up for Avalon’s monthly newsletter with more recipes and restaurant news, visit avalonrestaurant.net.
2 vanilla beans
7 ounces sugar
1.5 quarts heavy cream
1 whole egg
12 egg yolks
6 large croissants
6 apple cider donuts (look for them at Highland Orchards in West Chester or at local farmers’ markets)
Tip: you will need a baking dish for bread pudding and a larger baking dish to use as a water bath. You can also use aluminum cup cake tins.
Slice vanilla bean pod down the middle and scrape out the beans. Mix beans with the sugar. Heat the heavy cream and scraped vanilla pod together in a saucepot. Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (do not boil hard or scald cream).
Beat eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Slowly temper cream (remove pods and discard) into the egg mixture (add warm cream to eggs very slowly, so as not to cook the egg yolks).
Tear or cut croissants and donuts into small bite-size pieces and add to cream/egg mixture. Allow to sit overnight in refrigerator.
Line the bottom of a baking pan with parchment paper and spray sides of pan and top of paper with nonstick spray. Fill the pan half way with bread/cream mixture and cover with aluminum foil and bake 350 degrees in a water bath* until cooked through, approximately one hour. Uncover and brown on top for about 15 minutes. Approximate total cooking time is 60-90 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate. To warm bread pudding, a microwave works best to keep it moist.
*Water bath: Place pan (with bread pudding mixture) into a larger baking dish filled half way with warm water. Water should only cover halfway up side of the pan containing bread pudding mixture.