While 11 November is Remembrance Day for Canadians (and Armistice or Veterans Day in other countries), it’s St. Martin’s Day in Germany. St Martin’s Day is the feast day for Martin of Tours and was one last great banquet before the start of Advent fasting in the middle ages. In modern Germany, St Martin’s Day is known for roast goose (Martinsgans), lantern processions, and, in Mannheim, human-shaped pastries called Martinsmann.
We picked up a Martinsmann from our local bakery and were underwhelmed by its relative flavourlessness. Rather than waste the leftovers, I bumped them up with spices and apples in a bread pudding.
This recipe is modified from one I use for leftover hot cross buns at Easter. It works best with sweeter bread, but would be just fine with regular bread, too, although maybe with a little more sugar.
The bread pudding filled the kitchen with a lovely warm spicy smell, just like holiday baking – but it’s absolutely easier to make than gingerbread men or Christmas cookies 🙂 All the delicious smells with the ease of chopping up bread and stirring together milk, eggs, and spices!
The end result was so tempting that we devoured most of it before I snapped a photo 😉
We ate this bread pudding plain, but it would also be good with ice cream, whipped cream, or bourbon/whiskey sauce. Adding chopped apple keeps everything moist and makes a sweet, buttery, boozy sauce unnecessary – although not any less welcome!
And if you’re interested in the traditional Martinsgans, check out this roast goose recipe from Ginger & Bread.
Bread pudding with apples
- 450g (1 pound) day old hot cross buns or leftover Martinsmann
- 700ml (3 cups) milk (or a combination of milk and cream for a richer pudding)
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 75g (1/3 cups) sugar
- 1 packet vanilla sugar (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 of a large apple, chopped
- 2 tbsp Demerara sugar (or other coarse sugar)
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and lightly grease an ovenproof casserole dish that will fit all the bread cubes
- A 23cm (9″) square baking dish should do
- Cut leftover bread into cubes (roughly 1cm square) and place in a large bowl
- Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, spices and vanilla; pour mixture over bread and stir until coated
- Let the milk mixture and bread rest for 15 minutes; the bread should absorb most of the liquid
- Gently stir in chopped apple and pour into casserole dish, pressing down the bread a bit
- Sprinkle coarse sugar over top and dust with additional nutmeg and cinnamon if desired
- Bake until pudding sets and the top is golden brown – about 1 hour
- Eat while warm and serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or bourbon/whiskey sauce if you’d like