I know it’s only the beginning of October and I don’t mean to rush things along and not live in the moment, but I think this Pumpkin Bread Pudding is going to be your Thanksgiving holiday breakfast/brunch treat.
I don’t mean to be presumptuous—you don’t have to make it, of course.
Maybe you don’t really like the flavor of pumpkin (like me and yet I honestly loved this from bite #1—and unfortunately for me there was a #2, 3 & 4 as I nibbled my way through an entire corner. See?)
Or maybe (also like me) you have an aversion to the spices like ginger, cloves and nutmeg that always seem to accompany pumpkin desserts (I’m annoyingly picky about traditional pumpkin spices and none of those are in here, nope, not a even a spec).
Or maybe you think you don’t really like bread pudding, which is fair—it’s often not my most favorite thing—but this one is so light and filled with flavor and seasonally, orange-y perfect and not too dry or too gushy but just hits that french toast sort of balance, that I sorta can’t imagine you not falling a little bit in like.
What I know you will LOVE is the fact that you can use up stale challah or brioche (or really any sweetish bread you like, though those are my personal preferences) and put this together in just minutes the day before, letting the bread cubes soak up all those wonderful flavors overnight—
Which means that the morning of the festivities, you simply pull it out of the fridge and bake! And bow to your adoring fans!!
So…now that we’ve got that all settled and you’re properly prepared, we will return to our regularly scheduled October programming. LOL!
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Makes about a dozen servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time: 45-55 minutes
Butter for greasing a pan
One 15 ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
6 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅓ brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups, cubed challah or brioche bread (this works extremely well with bread that is a bit stale)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting on at end (optional)
1. Butter a 9x13 (or similar sized) baking dish and set aside.
2. Place all of the ingredients except for the challah and the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl and whisk together well.
3. Place the cubes of bread in a single layer in the prepared dish. Slowly pour the liquid over the bread, allowing it to absorb. Push the pieces down into it so that they are all coated. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 24.
4. Before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the dish from the fridge. You can bake this cold and tack on a few extra minutes, or let it sit out for about 30 minutes to warm up. Either way, uncover and sort of push the pieces down into the liquid a bit. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Insert a knife into the center—if it comes out clean, the pudding is ready. If it has a lot of custard sticking to it, bake for another 5-10 minutes and check again.
5. Remove from the oven and sift a little confectioners’ sugar over the top, if using. You can serve this immediately or let it cool a bit, which makes it great for parties. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for a few days.
Note: Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour. I tinkered around—left out the ginger, cloves and nutmeg—added a little more vanilla and cinnamon.