Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Squire Fox
by Cathy Barrow - October/November 2012

A decadent riff on the classic pumpkin bread

from Jodi Elliot, Foreign & Domestic, Austin, TX

When Jodi Elliott was growing up, Thanksgiving pies 
were a given. “My grandmother probably made five or six—chocolate cream, pecan, pumpkin, coconut cream, buttermilk,” she says. But what sets her stomach rumbling today is the memory of her grandmother’s Thanksgiving Day breakfast—pumpkin bread, slathered with honey butter. Her pumpkin bread pudding is a decadent riff on that morning staple, tarted up with a cranberry caramel sauce and maple-soaked whipped cream. “I love bread pudding, especially in the fall,” Elliott says. “There’s something so cozy and comforting about a warm dessert when it’s a little chilly outside.” And, fittingly, it makes a damn fine morning-after indulgence.
 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple Whipped Cream, Cranberry Caramel Sauce, and Maple Spiced Nuts

Ingredients (Serves 9–12)
PUDDING:
½ vanilla bean
1 2/3  cups sugar
2 egg yolks
3 eggs
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1½ 15-oz. cans pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch each of cloves, allspice, and nutmeg
1 large loaf of brioche, challah, or soft-crusted white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tbsp. turbinado sugar

MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM:
2 cups cream
¼ cup maple syrup

CRANBERRY CARAMEL SAUCE:
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup cranberry juice
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

MAPLE SPICED NUTS:
3 cups pecan halves
3 tbsp. maple syrup
3 tbsp. corn syrup
3 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
½ tsp. Jodi’s Spice Mix (recipe follows)

JODI'S SPICE MIX:
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1½ tsp. cayenne

Preparation
PUDDING: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a large baking dish (9-by-9-by-3-inch or 13-by-9-by-2-inch), or 12 4-ounce ramekins.
Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds into a mixing bowl. Whisk seeds, sugar, yolks, and eggs to combine.

In a small saucepan, heat cream and milk until small bubbles form at the edges of the pan, about 3–4 minutes. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture.
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree with the vanilla, salt, and spices, then add in the egg and milk mixture.

Press the bread into the serving dish(es). Pour the pumpkin egg mixture over the bread slowly, pressing bread down gently to soak up the custard. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up. Serve with maple whipped cream, cranberry caramel sauce, and maple spiced nuts.

MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM: Using an electric mixer, whip cream on low until it begins to thicken. Add maple syrup, and whip on
medium until soft peaks form.

CRANBERRY CARAMEL SAUCE:  In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil. Cook without stirring, watching closely, until it turns a dark amber color, about 10 minutes.

Remove the caramel from heat, and slowly add cranberries and juice. (The caramel will spit and spatter, so be careful.) Stir well, return pan to heat, and bring caramel back to a boil for 5 minutes, until the cranberries have all popped. Remove from heat, and stir in salt and vanilla.

Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then blitz in the blender until thoroughly combined. This sauce may be served warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead
MAPLE SPICED NUTS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and coat with nonstick spray (or brush lightly with oil).
Mix everything together and spread it out on the baking sheet.

Bake for 12–14 minutes, until golden brown, stirring halfway through. Cool thoroughly, then store in a covered container for up to a week.

Make Ahead
JODI'S SPICE MIX: Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake well. This mix has a long shelf life and is great to have on hand for cocktail nuts and popcorn as well
 

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