Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Pudding & Brown Vanilla Sugar Sauce

For Julia's going away party, I pretty much tried to make a variety of things that, well, I wanted to make. I knew what was easy, what would stay fresh, what had been a hit in the past, etc.

But I readily accepted one request from Julia's boss.

The request was for her to make her pumpkin bread pudding, a staple at every fall potluck in the newsroom. I'd begged her for the recipe last year, so when it was specifically asked for, I told her not to worry making food for her own party - I would make it (after all, I needed to do a test drive before the fall!).

I've NEVER made bread pudding. And I really don't know why - it was easy, and it. the. yummiest. thing. ever. If you like pumpkin, you'll love this dessert. My husband insisted that he didn't like bread pudding. I finally asked him if he'd ever had it. He admitted he hadn't but maintained that he hated it. I had him try a bite of this, and he fell in love.

This dessert did not last long at the party. The person who requested it nearly didn't get any - he got one of the last few pieces. I've already passed the recipe along to others, too. It wasn't seasonal for an August party, but it tastes so good it really doesn't matter.

I didn't make the sauce because I didn't want to worry about it sitting out. But it's really not needed - delicious, yes; necessary, no.

8 ounces French bread, torn into small pieces, about 5 cups
2 cups half-and-half, or half milk and half cream
3 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (this is the canned pumpkin, found in your grocery store with the pie fillings, and the puree is the kind without spices. Pumpkin Pie filling has the spices included. I would imagine if you went with the pumpkin pie filling you'd have the same consistency and could skip adding the spices below.)
1 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon sugar, optional

Note: Raisins or chopped pecans can be used in place of the dried cranberries, or try another chopped dried fruit.

Butter an 11x7-inch baking dish (I used 13x9). Heat oven to 350°.

In a bowl, cover the torn bread with the half-and-half; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, sugars, pumpkin, cranberries, melted butter, spices, and vanilla; blend well.

Pour pumpkin mixture over soaked bread and stir to blend.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until set. (Since I used a more shallow dish, I only baked it for 45 minutes.)

Serve with a vanilla dessert sauce or brown sugar sauce, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.

Brown Sugar Vanilla Sauce

A sauce for bread pudding, fruit desserts, pound cake, ice cream, and other goodies.

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce to medium-low and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

This sauce is delicious with bread pudding, plain unfrosted cakes, ice cream, or other desserts.

Source: Julia!



YUM!! I made this for Thanksgiving, except the store was out of pumpkin puree & pie filling, but I still made it and used cranberries, raisins and pecans. What a hit!!!!!! Easy for a first time bread-pudding maker too.

Thanks! I will definitely make this again.

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