Pumpkin Bread Pudding

With a birthday just a couple of days prior to Halloween, the holiday has always had special meaning to me with costumed birthday parties growing up.  My friend and coworker, Juan, always takes Halloween off from work to celebrate his birthday, so I decided we should have early festivities together—and, of course, the birthday dessert had to include pumpkin as an ingredient!

I settled on this pumpkin bread pudding not only because it is so delicious but because it is work-night friendly with regard to preparation.  I threw it together in a jiffy the night before our celebration—unlike last year’s late night and early morning marathon—and brought it in to work to bake there so that we could enjoy it warm from the oven with some ice cream.  I have the advantage of working for a company which does research and development for flavors used in the food industry, so I have access to kitchen equipment at work.

I work with a really fun group—they are always willing to taste test a new recipe of mine.  Hey, it’s what they do for a living!  It wasn’t too much of a hardship—the pumpkin bread pudding was warm, melt-in-your-mouth custardy, and flavored with fall spices.  With vanilla ice cream on the side, it made for a really frantastic treat on a work day.

Happy Halloween birthday, Juan!

One year ago:  Coffee and Donuts Cake

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

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Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) half & half
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum, optional (I did not use)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 cups (about 18 oz.) bread*, cut in 3/4″ cubes

*Use any non-savory bread:  brioche, a sweet bread, or plain white or whole wheat bread.  (I used Hawaiian sweet bread.)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, half and half, milk, sugars, rum, salt, spices, and vanilla, stirring to blend.

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish or a 9″ x 13″ pan; if you’re going to refrigerate the pudding before baking, be sure to use a dish that can go from the fridge to a hot oven.  Place the cubed bread in the dish in an even layer, and pour the liquid mixture over it.

Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to bake the pudding, stir it together to redistribute the custard; quite a bit of it will have been absorbed by the bread.  Sprinkle with grated nutmeg, if desired; and bake in a preheated 350°F oven till set and beginning to brown, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

A professional foodie gives a "thumbs up"
Eyeball, anyone?
Juan's iPhone costume

Source:  A King Arthur recipe

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