Serves 8 to 10
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 loaf French bread or baguette, with crust, cut into small cubes
1 pound brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 pound cream cheese, chilled and chopped
Pedro Ximenez Sherry Ice Cream (see recipe), for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13- x 9-inch glass casserole or lasagna pan.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat evenly. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp. Remove the bread and turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees F.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cinnamon and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped apples, almonds, cream cheese, and toasted bread cubes. Drizzle with the reserved sugar syrup and mix to evenly distribute. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Then bake an additional 5 minutes, without stirring, until the top is golden brown and crusty and the liquid is almost gone. Serve warm with Pedro Ximenez Sherry Ice Cream.