Pumpkin is currently in short supply on Kaua’i. I don’t know if that’s because people here love pumpkin, or because tourists have been coming from the mainland and buying it all, but the shelves where it should find it in stores have been emptied out. Seriously – we went to three stores this past week and finally found a few (overpriced) cans of pumpkin puree on the back of a bottom shelf at Big Save Market. Safeway and Walmart were completely sold out.
Anyway, this is another great pumpkin recipe to add to this month’s theme. I love bread puddings and stratas, especially because they’re so versatile and, depending on the ingredients, can be used for breakfast, as a main dish, or as a dessert, and this one with pumpkin was a great addition to my collection of favorites. I’ll never forget that Meiling’s reaction when she took her first bite of this was, “It tastes like Christmas!” I remember as well that the whole house smelled like the holidays when the pudding was baking.
One fun thing about making a dessert bread pudding is that you don’t have to stick entirely with the bread called for, or even entirely with bread for that matter. Leftover muffins, pound cake, croissants, and other baked items can be added to the regular white or French bread or whatever that’s typically called for to punch things up a bit. I like to use challah, a sweet egg bread, for dessert bread puddings, but brioche is delicious as well.
This recipe came from C&H sugar along with a coupon I received. The ingredients listed below are the original from C&H, but I usually lightened things up a bit and used egg substitute for the whole eggs and yolks and nonfat milk instead of heavy cream. I also used actual rum for the flavoring when I made this, but rum extract would probably work just as well, as would vanilla. I also skipped adding the butter on top. Raisins or chopped pecans are walnuts were also a nice addition to the recipe, layered in among the toasted bread.
Leftovers were delicious for breakfast, so besides being a great dessert this also worked well for a breakfast/brunch dish. I usually served it with a spoonful of vanilla yogurt in the morning, but whipped cream or ice cream were added otherwise.
PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING
- 4 cups white bread, cut into small cubes
- 4 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP rum or brandy
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 TBSP cold butter, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the bread cubes on a large baking pan and toast in the oven for around 10 minutes.
Place the toasted bread cubes in a well-greased 9″ x 13″ pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, yolks, pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, rum or brandy and spices; stir until well-blended and sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over bread cubes.
Let everything sit for around 10 minutes, or until all the bread is fully soaked. Place pieces of butter around the top of pudding, then bake for 40-50 minutes, or until center is set but not dry.
Pudding can be eaten warm or chilled.