Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

When one thinks of bread pudding, one usually thinks of a very heavy, sweet and dense dessert---not this one! This bread pudding has an almost "souffle-like" texture - so light and not too sweet! Fresh pumpkin puree is so easy to make - just skip the canned stuff! Great combination with the caramel sauce, which I adapted from Thomas Keller's "Ad Hoc" cookbook.

For the pumpkin bread pudding:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 3 large organic egg yolks
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin puree, fresh
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 6 1-inch-thick slices of brioche or challah, cut into cubes
For caramel:
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • pinch of fleur de sel
For bread pudding:
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9x11 baking pan.
Combine creams, eggs, sugars, pumpkin and spices in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Place the brioche cubes in another large bowl and pour pumpkin mixture over tham, tossing gently to combine until almost all liguid is absorbed. Pour into prepared baking pan and place into a larger roasting pan, with enough boiling water to come up halfway sides of the baking pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until custard is set.

For caramel:
Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and stir in the water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Then adjust the heat as necessary to continue simmering. Cook without stirring, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the caramel is a rich amber color. If you want to check the color, use a small spoon to drop a small amount on a white plate. (You want a dark caramel so the finished sauce will be a rich color.) Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream, being careful because the mixture will bubble up. If the sauce seizes, stir it over the heat to slowly remelt any hardened caramel. Whisk in the butter.

To serve: cut bread pudding into cubes and spoon warm caramel sauce over each serving. We also served ours with vanilla bean ice cream.

Posted by Luisa

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