Oro Valley’s Splendido, a luxury continuing care retirement community, has named the winner of its Aging Well Bakes! recipe contest, celebrating Arizona’s active, older adults and their baking talents.
Oro Valley resident Francine Crist, 59, took top honors for her caramel apple bread pudding recipe. Her baked dessert was among dozens of recipes submitted by adults 55 and better. Crist received a $500 gift certificate from kitchenware company Williams-Sonoma for her winning recipe.
Dining staff from the Splendido retirement community and parent company Mather LifeWays of Evanston, Ill., reviewed all the submissions and narrowed the list to a few finalists. They recreated those recipes and judged them on overall taste, texture, ease of preparation and how the recipe celebrates that growing older can be a fun, sweet and positive experience.
Crist said her bread pudding is an easy recipe she and her husband enjoy at home.
“My husband and I wanted to maintain our same weight, but we didn’t want to cut out traditional desserts,” Crist said. “My recipe slims down bread pudding with healthier ingredients, while keeping that old-fashioned taste and reassuring us we won’t unexpectedly break the scale.”
She also believes in using local ingredients for her dishes, as her bread pudding uses pecans from Green Valley and apples from Willcox.
“I’m originally from Ohio and still spend part of my summer in Canton where delicious apples are grown,” Crist said. “Our home in Southern Arizona allows us to still use fresh and crisp ingredients straight from the farm.”
Crist’s winning recipe – Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
8 cups stale French bread, cubed
3 ½ cups low-fat or skim milk
6 tablespoons margarine
4 eggs or the equivalent egg substitute
¾ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups apples – peeled and sliced
1 small jar, no sugar caramel topping
½ cup toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 9 x 13” pan or baking dish with non-stick spray
Heat milk in a sauce pan
Place bread cubes in baking dish
Pour milk over bread cubes and mix gently until milk is absorbed. Set aside.
In a bowl, cream margarine and sugar together
Add eggs or egg substitute, vanilla and cinnamon
Beat until fluffy
Stir in diced apples and add to bread mixture
Bake 1 hour until golden brown
Remove from oven and pour caramel sauce on top of pan
Sprinkle with pecans
Serve warm with low fat ice cream or whipping cream
Recipe serves 10-12 people
The Aging Well Bakes! recipe contest marks the second contest created by Mather LifeWays to celebrate the talents of older adults. In 2007, the organization sponsored the Aging Well Rocks! Song Competition, a contest designed to celebrate older adults’ musical talent.