Full disclosure: I’m not a big bread pudding fan. It’s usually so…heavy…bready…and bland (sorry, BP-lovers!). Give me a chocolate mousse or a strawberry tart any day. But this recipe, a riff on the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, is the exception to the rule. It satisfies the part of me that loves pumpkin pie custard and rich, wintery desserts. It’s also pretty forgiving—I once substituted a lousy cake I’d made for the bread, with great results. You could even sub in egg nog for the cream, if you still have some lurking in the back of your fridge [blushes guiltily].
-1 1/2 cups whole milk (Or 1 cup heavy cream plus 1/2 cup whole milk)
-3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-5 cups cubed day-old baguette or crusty bread
-3/4 stick butter
Preheat oven to 350F. Put the butter in your intended baking pan (two 8-in. rounds or a 9×9-in. pan work well, but a 13×9-in. might do in a pinch) and stick in the oven to melt while it preheats. Remove from oven.
1. Toss the bread cubes with the melted butter, dividing evenly between the two pans if you are using more than one.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour liquid evenly over the bread cubes. Toss to coat.
4. Bake 25-30 min. or until custard is set.