Okay, I know this is really getting down to the wire, but I couldn’t let Thanksgiving pass without sharing this recipe. I was all set to make a traditional Pumpkin Pie this year when I heard three words mentioned on Food Network. Pumpkin. Bread. Pudding. Need I say more? I immediately imagined my favorite pumpkin bread soaked in a gooey pumpkin custard and it was over. I knew a pumpkin pie just wasn’t going to cut it.
Starting with high quality pumpkin bread is key, as the bread obviously forms the basis of the dessert. The pumpkin bread is soaked in a rich and creamy custard infused with flavors of vanilla, pumpkin and bourbon. Basically heaven. The bread pudding is then cooked in a water bath, which ensures even, slow cooking and a delicate texture.
Surprisingly, this is my first attempt at bread pudding and I have no idea why. I honestly can’t believe I have missed out on this pumpkin bread pudding for so long! I feel like bread pudding gets overlooked and it really should get more attention. It is a relatively easy dessert to put together even though it does involve some cooking on the stove. A good bread pudding is decadent and comforting. It is the absolute perfect winter indulgence.
As if the bread pudding wasn’t decadent or creamy enough, I made Bobby Flay’s spicy caramel apple sauce to
dump drizzle on top. A pot of this boiling on the stove made the house smell UNREAL. The sauce is rich and buttery and probably over the top, but so necessary.
As much as I love to eat dessert, I am also very much a proponent of healthy eating. This bread pudding is certainly overly indulgent, but I feel that everything is fine in moderation. If you make this for a large crowd and each person only has a small serving, then there is nothing to worry about. Trust me, you won’t be able to eat more than a very small portion anyways!
You still have time to add this to your Thanksgiving table, so run to the grocery store or find the ingredients in your pantry and get baking! Thanksgiving is the one time a year that I go all out, so why not make the most decadent desserts possible? This pumpkin bread pudding is sure to become one of your absolute favorite desserts. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!
Ultimate Pumpkin Bread Pudding
1 loaf of Ultimate Pumpkin Bread
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 cup pure canned pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. bourbon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Slice cooled pumpkin bread in half lengthwise and then slice each half into 1/2 inch cubes. Spread the cubes onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake about 20 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Toss cubes once during the baking time. Let cool.
Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined, remove the vanilla pod and whisk in the bourbon. Strain the custard into a clean bowl.
Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in a glass 9 x 13 dish or a casserole dish similar to the one I used above. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to let the bread soak.
Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and pour hot tap water into the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the glass dish. Bake at 325 degrees F until the sides are slightly puffed and the center is slightly jiggly. Remove from the oven and water bath and let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.
UPDATE: This froze perfectly. I froze it right in the dish with plastic wrap touching the surface and foil on top of that. To reheat, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then removed the plastic wrap, but not the foil. I put it covered in a 250 degrees F oven for about an hour or until warmed through.
Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup apple juice
1 star anise
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. apple schnapps
Combine the cream, apple juice, star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan and place back over low heat.
Combine the sugar, water and vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cook without stirring, until it’s a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture, a little at a time. Continue whisking until smooth. Add the apple schnapps and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm or store in refrigerator for a few days. Reheat over low heat before serving.