Best Ever Pumpkin Bread Pudding

October 27, 2014

Pumpkin bread pudding is a delicious fall dessert that delivers big flavors with a small amount of effort. Bread pudding is a dessert that was invented as a way to use up stale bread.  This was more of an issue when people were purchasing bread daily from a baker rather than a loaf from the grocery store.  For any bread pudding recipe, the cubes are soaked in an egg mixture until softened and then baked until the top is golden brown and the custard has set.  The basic recipe only contains bread, milk, eggs, and sugar but you can make the dish more complex and flavorful by adding extracts (vanilla and almond are best), dried fruit, chocolate, orange or lemon zest, and nuts, just to name a few.  This pumpkin bread pudding includes many of these additions to make this dessert stand out among the rest.

These days stale bread is hard to come by.  You can literally use any bread for this dessert but, like with everything, some choices are better than others.  Rich egg breads with a lot of chew are ideal.  Examples of ideal breads include challah, brioche, Hawaiian sweet rolls, or even panetone (Italian Christmas bread sweetened with orange zest and dried fruit) are all good options.  No matter which bread you choose, you will want it to be on the drier side so that it soaks in the custard.  To achieve the "stale" effect, you can cut the bread into cubes and leave them out uncovered overnight.  If you are short on time, bake the cubes in a low oven for 20 minutes or so to dry them out. While you want to start with "stale" bread, you will need to make sure to cover the bread pudding while baking so that the top does not burn or dry out.

For pumpkin bread pudding, sourdough bread cubes are combined with raisins, pecans, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and the custard mixture.  What sets this bread pudding apart is the sweet and sticky praline sauce that's served over top.  This sweet treat is perfect for an holiday meal.

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