Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bonus Recipe - Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Maple Cream Sauce

Pumpkin bread pudding with caramel maple cream sauce.

I know this is not a cupcake recipe, but it was so good that I feel like I need to share it with everyone I know. The pumpkin bread pudding is a slight adaptation of the recipe Bobby Flay made in his Throwdown challenge against The Pioneer Woman just before Thanksgiving. I made this, along with the pies that my family loves so much, for Thanksgiving dinner. Let me tell you, it was the star of the show. Pie was left uneaten on dessert plates while seconds of this dessert were served. One of my friends said, "This is the best thing I've ever put in my mouth," and several others made me vow to make it for Christmas.

Bobby Flay made some elaborate sauces to go with this, one for underneath and one for on top. The recipes for those sauces  and the original pudding recipe are available here, but I went with something a little more simple - a rich, thick caramel sauce with a hint of maple. I also made two changes to the recipe. The original recipe called for whole milk in addition to the cream, but I substituted egg nog, and I will never make it any other way. It added a hint of... well, nog to the finished product that made everyone say, "What is that?"  I also used a good vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans, simply because I didn't have a bean.

Make this recipe. If your family even remotely likes pumpkin, they will love you for it. Expect sighs and groans. If you're fishing for a marriage proposal, add whipped cream. Delicious.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding 

  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup pure canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • Pumpkin Bread, toasted and cubed, recipe follows
  • Caramel Maple Cream Sauce, recipe follows
  • Freshly whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the cream, eggnog, 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,  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 the caramel sauce over a scoop of bread pudding, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces (scant 1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl.  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl - you can use a hand mixer), beat the 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar, and oil at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times. 

Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and water and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes.

Let cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.
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.

Caramel Maple Cream Sauce:

  • 1 can dulce de leche
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C pure maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

In a microwave safe bowl, empty the can of dulce de leche. It will be really thick. Microwave for about 30 seconds, stirring once, until you can easily stir the caramel. Whisk in the cream and maple syrup. Add the pinch of salt (only a little pinch!) and whisk until fully combined.

If you haven't noticed by now, this is a time consuming recipe. Let me tell you a few ways to make this recipe easier on you.

1. Make and toast the pumpkin bread the day before, or even two days. When cool, store in an airtight container. It's fine if they dry out... that's even better.

2. You can use any pumpkin bread recipe you want. You could even use pumpkin muffins. If you want to buy a mix, do it. The custard is the most important part, so cut yourself some slack with the bread.

3. Make the custard the night before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge an hour or so before you are going to bake the bread pudding.

4. Make the caramel sauce whenever you darn well feel like it. I made mine two days ahead, and it was still good several days later.

5. Whipped cream in a can. While fresh whipped cream is the best, seriously, it doesn't matter. Everyone will still love it.

6. The easiest way to make this recipe:  convince someone else to do it. ;)

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