Pumpkin Bread Pudding

November 22nd, 2010  |  17 Comments

No doubt everyone’s running around trying to stockpile their house with food for the holidays. It’s like a Thanksgiving apocalypse. My local market was packed with bodies, and I had to fight off the crowds to get at the brown sugar, possibly the most valuable commodity this time of year.

One thing I am thankful for this holiday season is how fast this dessert was to do. It was meant for an office potluck the following Monday, and I had no time to spare on a laundry- and football-filled Sunday night. Surely you can relate. I already had some brioche on hand from the last time, and it became my starting point. All I needed was a quick stir, pour and bake and done. We’ve got ourselves a dish. And it’s a sturdy thing to transport, to boot.

Bread puddings are, in essence, custards with some bread tossed in, so it does them well to be gently baked in a water bath. The whole thing melds together into a smooth, partly delicate, partly hardy bite. Very soul-satisfying and very November. Feel free to use some store-bought brioche if you can’t find time to make your own. It does a great job absorbing the liquid and it’s softness really complements the texture.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, October, 2003
serves six to eight

1 large loaf (about 1 to 1 1/2 lb or 450 to 725 g) brioche or challah, preferably day-old
1 1/2 cups (360 mL) whole milk
1 1/2 cups (360 mL) heavy cream
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup (225 g) canned pure solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup (140 g) light brown sugar
1 tsp (about 2 g) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (1/2 g) freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp (1/2 g) salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (85 g) dried cranberries or golden raisins


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut up the bread into 1″ cubes.

pumpkin-bread-pudding-ingredients

 

2. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray — something pretty enough to go from oven to table. I used a 9″ square ceramic, something like this.

 

Bring the milk and cream to a boil. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over, but at the same time continue with the next step two steps.

 

Crack the eggs and the yolks into a large bowl. Large bowl! You’ll thank me later.

 

Whisk ‘em up.

 

Toss in the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.

 

Whisk that up too, until smooth.

 

By now the milk/cream mixture should have come to a boil.

 

All while whisking continuously, sloooooooowly pour the hot milk over the egg mix. The constant whisking will keep the eggs from getting a shock of heat at once. Too much heat might result in little pieces of cooked eggs in the mix and we don’t want that. We want the eggs to warm up gradually.

 

Here is the finished mix.

 

Drop in the bread cubes…

 

…and the dried cranberries…

 

…and stir it all up. The bread should absorb some liquid and be well drenched.

 

Pour it all into the prepared baking dish and spread it out so it’s all an even layer.

 

Place the pan on a larger baking pan or roasting pan, preferably with high sides into the oven. All I had was this high-sided baking pan, and it worked well enough.

 

This bread pudding needs to bake gently, so we’ll create a “water bath.” Since water can never go above its boiling temperature of 212 degrees, there is better control of baking. The water creates a buffer between the oven’s heat and the pudding. The pudding bakes slowly and evenly throughout, and the edges don’t bake faster than the middle.

I used the hottest water that came out of my tap and poured it so it reached halfway up the sides of the bread pudding pan. (Some people prefer to pre-boil water to use as a water bath, and this way it doesn’t have to heat up further in the oven, but I leave it up to you.) It’s also best to do this after you’ve set your pan in the oven, so you don’t have to carry a sloshy water-filled pan to the oven.

 

Bake until the top becomes golden brown and the liquid doesn’t look liquidy in the center any more. I press on a few center bread cubes to see if they look set. Mine took about 50 minutes. Carefully pull both pans out of the oven, being careful not to let the water slosh back at you, and let the pudding cool right in its water bath.

 

Serve it warm, or at room temperature. (You can also make this up to two days ahead, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, either let it come back to room temperature (for better flavor and texture) or reheat for a few minutes at 325 degrees F.

Mmmm, mmmm. Rib-sticking good.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, October, 2003
serves six to eight

1 large loaf (about 1 to 1 1/2 lb or 450 to 725 g) brioche or challah, preferably day-old
1 1/2 cups (360 mL) whole milk
1 1/2 cups (360 mL) heavy cream
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup (225 g) canned pure solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup (140 g) light brown sugar
1 tsp (about 2 g) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (1/2 g) freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp (1/2 g) salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (85 g) dried cranberries or golden raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut up the bread into 1″ cubes.

2. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray — something pretty enough to go from oven to table. I used a 9″ square ceramic.

3. Bring the milk and cream to a boil. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over, but at the same time continue with the next step two steps.

4. Crack the eggs and the yolks into a large bowl. Large bowl, you’ll thank me later! Whisk ‘em up.

5. Toss in the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Whisk that up too, until smooth.

6. By now the milk/cream mixture should have come to a boil. All while whisking continuously, sloooooooowly pour the hot milk over the egg mix. The constant whisking will keep the eggs from getting a shock of heat at once. Too much heat might result in little pieces of cooked eggs in the mix and we don’t want that. We want the eggs to warm up gradually.

7. Drop in the bread cubes and dried cranberries, and toss it all together until the bread is well soaked.

8. Pour it all into the prepared baking dish and spread it out so it’s all an even layer.

9. Place the pan into a larger baking pan or roasting pan, preferably with high sides, into the oven. This bread pudding needs to bake gently, so we’ll create a “water bath.”

Since water can never go above its boiling temperature of 212 degrees, there is better control of baking. The water creates a buffer between the oven’s heat and the pudding. The pudding bakes slowly and evenly throughout, and the edges don’t bake faster than the middle. I used the hottest water that came out of my tap and poured it so it reached halfway up the sides of the bread pudding pan.

(Some people prefer to pre-boil water to use as a water bath, and this way it doesn’t have to heat up further in the oven, but I leave it up to you. It’s also best to do this after you’ve set your pan in the oven, so you don’t have to carry a sloshy water-filled pan to the oven.)

10. Bake until the top becomes golden brown and the liquid doesn’t look liquidy in the center any more. I press on a few center bread cubes to see if they look set. Mine took about 50 minutes. Pull both pans out of the oven, being careful not to let the water slosh back at you. Let the pudding cool right in its water bath.

11. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

(You can also make this up to two days ahead, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, either let it come back to room temperature (for better flavor and texture) or reheat for a few minutes at 325 degrees F.






17 Responses to “Pumpkin Bread Pudding”

  1. Oh lordy does this look good (amazing!). Wish I were making my own Thanksgiving feast so I could add this last-minute. I’m sure it won’t be hard to find another occasion to make it though.

  2. PastryPal says:

    True, you can make it any time. I’ve been polishing some off for breakfast :)

  3. Pumpkin bread pudding sounds like a great way to end a Thanksgiving meal or start of the next morning :D

  4. Sunny says:

    Yah you are back awesome!! I’m happy to see the site up and running have a wonderful thanksgiving

  5. PastryPal says:

    Sunny — Have a great Thanksgiving yourself. Thanks for coming back to the site!

  6. Nana says:

    Every single one of your deliciously inspiring recipes are always an exceptional hit whenever I bring them to any party. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes, techniques, insights. :)

  7. PastryPal says:

    Nana — Thanks for trusting my recipes. That’s the nicest compliment :)

  8. anh says:

    this looks amazing!! Brioche and pumpkin? yes!

  9. Sneh Roy says:

    Looks delightful!

  10. Bunny says:

    I have only made brioche once and that was for cinnamon rolls. I want to try it again if only to make this bread pudding . I can only imagine how wonderful it is with the brioche! As always I love your how to steps! Happy Thanksgiving !!

  11. The first time I made bread pudding was when I was in a baking group called Sweet Melissa Sundays. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was.

    Beautifully done tutorial.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Carmen

  12. PastryPal says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you’re all pigging out!

  13. Michelle says:

    This looks seriously wonderful. I love bread pudding, but I’ve never had a pumpkin version. Yum!

  14. Beth S. says:

    Ok, just pulled this out of the oven! It looks & smells heavenly. Can’t wait to try it!

  15. Beth S. says:

    Rave reviews all around! OMG soooo good!

  16. Marie says:

    Made this for thanksgiving….it was very good. It wasnt as moist as I like it ( I like my bread pudding VERY moist…almost like a custard) but it was definitely moist enough, and i added a drizzle of caramel sauce over the top. Easy to make and everyone loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.

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