Make sure you are starting with stale bread. If you haven't left your bread out for a few days, you can quickly dry out in the oven. See post for instructions on doing this.
Peel, core, and slice your apples very thin.
In a skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. add the sliced apples, cinnamon, cardamom, brown sugar, and lemon juice.
Stir around and get all the apples coated. Cook for about 4-6 minutes or until the apples are soft but not mushy. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, dairy free milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon zest. Tip: you could put all these things in a blender and combine too.
Add stale bread to a greased 9x13 casserole dish and then pour the applesauce mixture evenly across the top. Use a spatula to mix together, making sure that all the pieces of bread are coated well.
Add the apples and gently toss the bread with the apples to make sure they are all throughout the casserole.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Once ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar across the top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Check at the 30 minute mark to see if it is browning too much. If it is, then cover with foil and let finish cooking.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
Top with powdered sugar if desired and serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit.
Store any leftovers in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.