BEFORE WE WERE YOURS: Lisa Wingate’s Apple Bread Pudding Recipe
“Shantyboat families, such as the ones depicted in my novel Before We Were Yours, often gathered in small communities to share news and food, find companionship, trade goods, and play homemade instruments and sing. A rare sweet treat would have thrilled Rill and her siblings. Wingate imagines that her own family recipe (at right) for apple bread pudding, an old-fashioned dessert popular during the Depression and created from ingredients on hand, would have been enthusiastically received: “It would have been savored to the last morsel and sticky fingertip … and not soon forgotten.”
About Before We Were Yours:
Before We Were Yours is based on a notorious scandal—the Tennessee Children’s Home Society’s black-market adoption ring—in which poor children were kidnapped and sold to wealthy families. Wingate interweaves the stories of Rill Foss and her siblings, taken from their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat in 1939, with the modern-day story of attorney Avery Stafford, whose chance encounter with a dementia patient unveils terrible truths about her prominent South Carolina family.
Lisa Wingate’s Apple Bread Pudding
A book club recipe for Apple Bread Pudding to accompany a discussion of BEFORE WE WERE YOURS
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, divided
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 2 cups apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- ½ cup chopped pecan
- 3 cups dried cubed bread
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread 2 tablespoons melted butter in the bottom of a 13 × 9 × 2-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Add apples, pecans, and then bread.
- Whisk together eggs, evaporated milk, half-and-half, vanilla, cardamom, salt, and remaining butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and pour over top. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until firm and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm, with ice cream and caramel sauce. Makes 12 to 15 servings.