I will tell you why. Because I found this recipe last year as I was preparing the menu for our Thanksgiving and I lost sleep over it! And I was not disappointed. If you like bread pudding (which I do) and you like pumpkin (which I really do) this recipe is going to exceed your expectations!
I have already mentioned what a great recipe for Pumpkin Bread this recipe uses. The bread is cubed and dried, covered in a custard sauce and then baked until it reaches a soft, pudding-like texture. It is then combined with a Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise and a Caramel Sauce that will have you seriously licking your bowl clean!
Pictured below: Served the Bobby Flay method.
Layer the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, then the (warmed) bread pudding, a scoop of whipped cream and top with the Caramel Sauce.
Pictured below: a great cheater method with the same delicious result.
Top the (warmed) bread pudding with a scoop of Vanilla bean ice-cream and drizzle generously with caramel sauce.
(recipe adapted from Bobby Flay, Food Network)
Begin by baking one loaf of Pumpkin Bread, recipe here.
Once the bread is cool, slice in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven until lightly toasted, turning once, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
Custard for Bread Pudding
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe follows
Caramel Sauce, recipe follows
Freshly whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 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 buttered 9 by 13-inch baking glass baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard.
Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and pour hot tap water into the roasting pan until it comes half way up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Spoon some of the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise into a shallow bowl, top with some of the bread pudding and drizzle with the Caramel Sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream. Bread pudding is best served warm.
Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe here
A great cheater creme anglaise is melted ice cream. Easy!
Buy (high quality) vanilla bean ice cream and place 2 cups of it in a dish in the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving this dessert. You want it to be melted and "soft" but not completely runny and definitely NOT warm (thus keeping it in the refrigerator).
Caramel Sauce, recipe here
This is my own variation, basically a simpler recipe than Bobby's, but you could even use a caramel ice cream topping with tasty results.
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk the brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Whisk in the cream and stir until the sugar dissolves completely and sauce is smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.