Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This is one of my favorites – it is a great substitution for pumpkin pie. It’s a very creamy and light dessert, almost like a pumpkin mousse.

I hope you like this as much as my family and friends do.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 loaf egg or Challah bread – cubed into 1" pieces
1 large can of pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, beaten
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
1 pint half and half
1 can condensed milk (non-, low-fat or regular is fine)
Milk (the amount will vary depending on the size of your baking dish)
1 Tbs. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs. Maple Extract (or 2 Tbs. Maple Syrup can be substituted)
1/2 cup golden raisins (soaked in equal parts rum & water until plump – about 30 to 45 minutes. You can just soak in all water if you do not want alcohol infused into the raisins – Drain before using).
1/2 ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. clove
1/4 salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin puree with eggs, cream, half and half and condensed milk until mixture is smooth. Add extracts, spices and raisins.

Add cubed bread and – using a spoon or rubber spatula – fold the bread into the pumpkin mixture, making sure not to bread up the bread too much.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased baking pan (you can use an 8" x 12" baking dish or a 1 quart souffle dish). Pour the milk over the top of the bread pudding mixture, making sure it looks saturated (the milk will get absorbed into the bread pudding for a creamy texture).

Put foil over the top of the dish and place in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes. Lower the head to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 45 minutes. [Please note: if you are making this pudding in a shallow baking dish, you may not need to bake this more than 30 minutes. A deeper baking receptacle may need the full 75 minutes). To check, you can cut into the bread pudding – if it looks runny, remove foil and continue to bake, but check on it after about 10 minutes. It should look moist on the inside – don’t worry if it looks a little liquidy, it will continue to cook after it is out of the oven.

Let sit for about 10 – 15 minutes before serving. You can garnish with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, whipped cream or the Vanilla sauce listed below.

Vanilla Sauce

In a double-boiler, combine 3 egg yolks with 1/2 sugar with a whisk until the egg mixture becomes frothy and pale yellow in color (approx. 10 – 12 minutes). You want to make sure you cook the yolks, but be careful not to scramble or curdle them.

Add 1 vanilla bean (split in half) as well as 1/2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract. (For those who want a “punched up sauce” you can add 3 Tbs. of dark rum or whiskey to the mixture).

This is not a thick sauce, but it is quite delicious drizzled over a serving of the pumpkin bread pudding.