making-do-with-what-I-have pumpkin bread pudding

I have collected a fair number of cans of pumpkin puree (thank you, neighbors), so a recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding recently caught my eye. Being the only one in the house who enjoys bread pudding doesn’t deter me from making it. I can easily justify enjoying the whole batch myself. It counts as breakfast, yes?

Tonight was the night for the bread pudding. Topped with a bourbon sauce (isn’t all bread pudding supposed to be served with some type of whiskey sauce?) and a cloud of whipped cream (yes, laced with bourbon), it was swoon-worthy. The pudding itself isn’t overly sweet and has a beautiful almost pumpkin pie-like texture. As a bread pudding, though, it is decidedly hearty and rustic–even more so than some as it started with a loaf of fairly dense mulitgrain bread.

I was trying to use up a rather large (17-ounce) round loaf of multigrain bread (gift from same neighbor), so this replaced the baguette called for in the recipe. I sliced it 1/2 inch thick per recipe instructions, but my loaf was so much larger than a narrow baguette, the slices were anything but delicate. Just the same, I toasted it in the oven per recipe instructions and tore it into large pieces before soaking it in the egg mixture. In the end, I like how the irregular-size pieces meld together in the custard.

The recipe called for 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice. Didn’t have (how many of us do?) and wasn’t going to run out and buy so used 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon and made up the difference with half ground ginger and half freshly grated nutmeg. (sort of what the recipe advised)

I also didn’t have 1 quart half-and-half in the house. It would have been easy enough to mix 2 cups cream (which I did have) with 2 cups milk, but this was one of those times (and we all have them) when we were milk-less. I don’t know too many fans of powdered milk, though it does come through in a pinch when baking. My “half-and-half” was 2 cups liquid milk made per powder box instructions stirred into the same amount of cream.

Instead of the dark brown sugar I usually make (1 cup white sugar plus 2 tablespoons molasses), I made a lighter version by replacing 1 tablespoon molasses with the same amount of dark honey.

Also, the original recipe toasted the bread and baked the pudding at 300°F. I bumped up the second bake temp as I wanted faster baking and some browning on the surface.

Here’s how it all turned out.

pumpkin bread pudding swimming in a honey-bourbon sauce

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Adapted from a recipe found in Everyday Food (November 2003). Note that my recipe looks nothing like what was intended. Tasty just the same.

  • 1 (1-pound) loaf multigrain bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick (I used most of a 17-ounce loaf)
  • 4  large eggs
  • 2 cups milk and 2 cups cream, or 1 quart half-and-half
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon and 3/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and freshly grated nutmeg, or 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 300°F. Coat 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Place bread on baking sheet. Bake, turning slices over once, 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven. Tear into large pieces.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine eggs, milk, cream, pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, vanilla, and salt; whisk until blended. When bread is toasted, add to bowl; push down to submerge. Let soak 20 minutes or until saturated.

Heat oven to 325°F. Pour bread mixture into baking pan. Bake about 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 12 servings.

Honey-Bourbon Sauce

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

In small saucepan, bring all ingredients except vanilla and salt to a boil. Boil  5 minutes or until just slightly thickened. Stir in vanilla and salt. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Bourbon Whipped Cream

In bowl, whip heavy cream to make whipped cream, stirring in a splash of bourbon and just about as much powdered sugar.

Victory Part 3-1What does Nathan Fillion have to do with bread pudding? Absolutely nothing. This is why he’s here.

4 thoughts on “making-do-with-what-I-have pumpkin bread pudding

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