HOLIDAY DINNER MENU: Dried Fruit Salad with Cara-Cara Orange Vinaigrette; Boeuf Bourguignon; Orange Sweet Potatoes; Pumpkin-Chocolate Bread Pudding
This Pumpkin-Chocolate Bread Pudding made its way to my Thanksgiving table this year, alongside Mom’s Apple Pie
, among other festive desserts. Though we’ve featured bread puddings before–though not with any frequency or devotion–none had ever contained pumpkin. Perhaps we made those desserts in years when there was a pumpkin pie on the buffet, or perhaps it never crossed our minds then. Regardless, 2010 does seem to be the year of pumpkin
, at least, as far as our readers are concerned, which makes this rich bread pudding the perfect way to celebrate as the year comes to a close.
The bread pudding does beg to be assembled in advance so that the bread involved gets many hours to soak up the custardy goodness. But other than that, this is easy as (pumpkin) pie. Easier, really.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Pumpkin-Chocolate Bread Pudding
1 tablespoon softened butter
6-8 cups torn challah, challah rolls, or brioche, preferably stale
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups half and half
12 ounces pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grease an 8-cup (or thereabouts) gratin or baking dish with the softened butter. Layer the torn bread in the baking, scattering the chocolate chips as you go.
In a medium bowl, beat together the half and half, pumpkin, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and vanilla until completely combined. The mixture will be thick and custardy. Pour it over the bread slowly, allowing it to sink in so it doesn’t overflow. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the bread pudding for 45 minutes, until puffed and brown. If you stick a tester in the middle, it will come out clean–that means the pudding is cooked through. The pudding will begin to sink almost immediately, so don’t be disappointed. Or, just serve it right away.
You can also serve warm or room temperature. If you’re my Uncle Michael, vanilla ice cream is mandatory; it’s still nice, even if you’re not him.