Last week I was forced to thaw my pumpkin challah ahead of schedule in order to complete its photo-op and I knew that re-freezing it really wasn’t an option. Since I didn’t want all of the challah to go to waste I had to do something with it (poor me), so I went to the easy option: bread pudding.
I took my other bread pudding recipe and adapted it slightly… well, by “adapted” I mean “poured a can of pumpkin into”… That counts as “adapted,” right?
I also switched from white sugar to brown because, to me, pumpkin just screams “BROWN SUGAR” and reduced the liquids a bit to make up for the additional liquid provided by the pumpkin puree. I probably could have reduced the liquids a bit more since I had originally planned to only had 1 cup of pumpkin puree… then I got tired thinking of what I would do with the rest of the can of pumpkin and just dumped the rest of it in.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? There is some real science going on here, guys.
I worried that it might be too much liquid, and maybe it was, the pudding took way longer than others have to bake, although that could have been because I insisted on opening the oven door every ten minutes to check on it. (Shame on me, I should know better.)
I’ve included the recipe as I made it below, along with some notes in case you’re interested in scaling back on the liquid.
So I took the pudding out of the oven with trepidation, terrified that it was going to be a soggy, soupy mess. Then, after I let it cool off a bit on a wire rack I popped into the fridge to firm up. This step is important…
The refrigerator is where the magic happens.
In the refrigerator, what was once a warm bread pudding transforms into some sort of magical bread pudding/pumpkin pie hybrid. The top of the pudding stays wonderfully crisp while the bottom turned into what I can only describe as pumpkin pie.
Like, literally, the exact taste and texture of a creamy pumpkin pie.
It. was. amazing.
The refrigerator also has the added bonus of firming up the bread pudding enough for you to actually slice and serve it versus having to scoop it with a spoon. Slicing the pudding also makes freezing it an option. If that’s your thing, you can see my notes on freezing the bread pudding at the end of the recipe.
I topped my bread pudding with a healthy dollop of freshly-whipped cream (spiked with some cinnamon). I suspect that a scoop of ice cream or creme anglaise would be a nice touch, too.
pumpkin pie bread pudding
- 6 cups stale bread (I used pumpkin challah)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup cinnamon chips
- Cut bread into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the bread and cinnamon chips.
- Once combined, add the bread and cinnamon chips; toss to coat.
- Pour into greased baking dish and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to overnight).
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325F. While the oven is preheating, set the bread pudding on the counter to take the chill off.
- Once the oven is preheated, remove plastic wrap from bread pudding and cover pudding with aluminum foil bake 20 minutes covered, then remove cover and bake for an additional 30 -50 minutes, until the bread pudding no longer releases liquid when pressed and the internal temperature reaches 165F.
- Cool bread pudding on a wire rack for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve (4 hours or up to overnight). This is where the magic happens.
- When ready to serve, either reheat individual servings of bread pudding for about 30 seconds each (being careful not to overheat them) in the microwave or reheat the entire pan in the oven by placing it in a cool oven, covered with aluminum foil. Set oven to 350 and by the time your oven is heated the bread pudding should be warmed through (you can poke it to check, if you like).
- Serve with creme anglaise, ice cream, or cinnamon-spiced whipped cream.
My bread pudding came out beautifully, but you could easily make the following modifications if you are short on any ingredients, however your cooking time may be slightly less:
- You could use just 1 cup of pumpkin puree instead of one whole can, keeping other liquid ingredients the same
- If you are using a full can of pumpkin puree, you could easily get away with reducing the whole milk and cream by another 1/4 cup each (or just reducing one by a half cup)
- You could use all heavy cream or sub in half-and-half instead of using a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk
*As is - this recipe will create a nice crust on top of the bread pudding. If you prefer to not have a crusty top to your bread pudding, leave it covered for the entire baking time.
*The bread pudding magic really happens after its chill in the fridge, so you could serve it fresh from the oven but I strongly recommend the chill. This is what transforms the lower portion to the texture of pumpkin pie.
*You can (and I did) wrap individual servings of bread pudding tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them to enjoy later. Place in refrigerator to thaw and then heat for 30 seconds in the microwave (or warm in the oven).