Sooo, how do you make starchy hearty pumpkin taste even better? Turn it into a velvety custard and add carby crusty bread! While the clear blue sunny skies of summer are always welcome, there’s something to be said about brisk fall weather that just makes you want to snuggle. While I love winter squash and pumpkins and pie will always trump cake in my book, for some reason I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin pie. I suspect that while it contains spiced pumpkin-y goodness, the mush factor with low crust to pie ratio are the main culprits. So, when I discovered that yes, pumpkin goes with bread pudding like sunshine and catnaps, my pumpkin-filled fall fantasies were fulfilled. The addition of the puréed pumpkin to the custard with pumpkin pie-y spices gives you the best of both worlds, silky starchy custard with toothsome on the bottom and slightly crunchy on the top bread cubes. And lest you think that this dessert is just decadent carby goodness, 1 c of pumpkin contains 310% of the recommended dieatry allowance (RDA) of vitamin A, 20% of vitamin C, 1.4 mg of iron, 564 mg of potassium, 3 g of fiber and 2 g of protein [mwhahahaha!]. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, this dessert works great to pay homage to the Great Pumpkin, Thanksgiving, or just to celebrate Tuesday🙂
The answer is always 42… pumpkins!
1) Hey, I know it’s dessert, but why can’t I just use whole milk like with the previous savory bread puddings? Actually, you’ll need the extra fat (half and half contains ~10% milk fats vs ~5% with whole milk). Why? Unlike savory bread pudding, there’s no cheese or other fats in here so you need the extra fat to create that velvety colloid-y custard as it’s the fat the impedes the 3D cross-linking of the proteins giving you a softer, smoother texture instead of a rubbery one. You want your custard to gel, not jello😉
3 c crusty rustic bread (baguette all the way baby!)
1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 c half and half
1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
A pinch ground cloves
3/4 c packed pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl toss bread and butter together. Place bread cubes in a shallow 9-inch pie pan or in individual ramekins ~1/4-1/3 c per 4-oz ramekin. Set aside.
Whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over bread cubes and bake till golden brown and custard jiggles in the middle when the edge of pan is tapped or no liquid seeps up when the top is lightly pressed with a fork ~25-35 minutes. With a 9-inch ceramic pie pan and convection it takes me ~25 minutes. Serves 4-6. Après dessert snuggling optional.