More pumpkin – as promised! I think this is the last recipe though, so soon we’ll be onto more seasonal things. I actually made this for Thanksgiving, as a pumpkin pie alternative, and it was so incredibly outstanding. I really love bread pudding, it’s one of my favorite desserts, but I ironically don’t have it often so when I do I want it to be amazing. This recipe is definitely what I would call amazing.
What makes this particular recipe so special is that you make a loaf of pumpkin quick bread, which you toast and use as the bread in the bread pudding. I was a bit hesitant at first, because I didn’t see how a soft, tender quick bread could work the same way as a stale french bread or brioche in a bread pudding, but it sounded too good not to give it a try.
I made the first pumpkin loaf, and when it came out everyone was salivating so we sliced a piece to enjoy while cooking. Immediately my mom said it was “too good” to use in the bread pudding, and we’d have to find another bread to use in it because she wanted to eat the pumpkin bread on it’s own. I thought she was a bit crazy at first, seeing as how this was mid-afternoon on Thanksgiving, both ovens were full, and we had little time to prepare another quick bread, let alone dry it out, make the custard, and bake off the bread pudding in time for dessert. However, I sort of agreed! The bread in this recipe, on it’s own, is positively outstanding.
So we went in search of another recipe. I looked online, but the vast majority of recipes used french bread or brioche, which wasn’t an option since we didn’t have any laying around. My mom insisted she’d seen this other pumpkin bread pudding recipe also made with a loaf of pumpkin bread in a magazine recently, so we scoured every single cooking magazine in the house – at least two or three times – but couldn’t find it anywhere. After wasting literally about an hour looking for a solution, I decided I’d just make the same recipe again. I didn’t have quite enough pumpkin, but I used what we had and the second loaf ended up coming up just as great as the first. Go figure!
We ended up enjoying the first loaf for breakfast the next morning, and using the second loaf in the bread pudding. It came out marvelously – with that wonderful stick-to-your-ribs quality, even though it didn’t feel particularly heavy. Something about pumpkin recipes always seems lighter to me, maybe because they’re made with squash so I pretend it’s healthier? At any rate, we served the bread pudding warm with a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce, and a heaping scoop of whipped cream. Simply divine. These pictures absolutely can’t do it justice – because really lumpy, brownish “pudding” isn’t a particularly appealing thing to photograph. It’s just good! Believe me on this one! I added chopped candied ginger and cranberries to my loaf, and thought it was simply divine.
So in case you needed help planning for next year’s Thanksgiving… now you have it!
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
adapted from Crepes of Wrath
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Cut the loaf into 1-inch cubes – this will make about 7 cups of bread cubes. Spread the cubes out onto the prepared baking sheets and toast for 10 minutes, then flip the cubes, and toast them for another 10 minutes or so, until lightly browned and crispy around the edges. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 glass baking dish very well.
Pour the custard into the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining bread cubes over the custard, and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the custard is set. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving warm. This bread pudding keeps well covered, in the fridge, for a few days.