Caramelized Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This is an irresistible dessert, and that is a quote from my Thanksgiving guests, who polished off my version of this lovely creamy sweetness, originally debuted by Zoe Francois of Zoe Bakes. I skipped the armagnac-soaked prunes and went straight to the pumpkin and yellow raisins. It’s to die for:)

 

Better than pie or pudding, and always an impressive presentation!

 

8 cups of 1/2 cubed bread (such as brioche, challah or other soft enriched bread). I used Hawaiian bread, it’s perfect

Pumpkin custard:

5 cups half & half

5 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 Cup Golden Raisins

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon clove

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling on top

Candied Walnuts:

1 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1 cup heavy whipping cream for garnish, whipped to stiff peak

To prepare the pudding, mix together the half & half, eggs, yolks, pumpkin, salt, sugars, spices and vanilla,

using an immersion blender or carefully with a whisk. Set aside.

Loosely pack the bread cubes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, sprinkling the raisins in intermittently.

Pour the pumpkin custard over the bread cubes. You may not fit all of the custard in at once, but when the bread absorbs some of it, you can add the rest.

Gently press the bread cubes down into the custard to make sure they are all soaking it up. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to really absorb the custard thoroughly. This is really important – let it sit!

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. Place the baking dish in a larger pan, lined with a kitchen towel. Add HOT water to the larger dish to create a water bath. The towel and the water act as insulation and create a more even baking temperature. Bake for about 45 minutes or until just set in the center of the pudding. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem firm. It’s better when it’s a tender set.

Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar.

Turn the oven to broil and return the pan to the oven, just until the sugar is melted and caramelized. If you have a Chef’s Torch you can achieve the same effect with your torch.

To make the candied walnuts:

Turn the oven to 350. In a bowl combine the nuts, maple, salt and spices. Spread the coated nuts onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until nicely toasted and golden brown. Be careful not to over bake or they will turn bitter.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and the nuts!

Yes, this recipe has NO goat cheese in it. But it’s still delicious!

 

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