Though last year I first bemoaned the slime-filled, chewy-crusted mess commonly known as "pumpkin pie," then promptly retracted my lamentations after stumbling upon its savior, this year, I went the way of experimentation for Thanksgiving dessert. Really now, my family's got to give me something in exchange for green bean casserole. I still think it's an uneven compromise, but I'll take what I can get.
I got Pumpkin Bread Pudding.
Unfortunately, bread pudding is a relatively new development for me, and I have not yet mastered the oh-so-skillful technique of making bread pudding.
Fine. So what if tossing a bunch of stale bread with cream, sugar, and eggs doesn't require "skill?" It's still baking (!) and I've already admitted that any activity in the kitchen that even remotely resembles "baking" is about as easy and successful for me as it is for Britney Spears to do "parenting." *ouch* Sorry, Brit! I apologize because I know you totally read my blog!
My bread pudding was bready. My bread pudding was puddingy. My bread pudding was also very very ugly. Bread pudding isn't a beautifully polished city-sophisticate dessert to begin with, but I have seen them in slightly "uptown" versions, filled with somewhat luxuriously exotic ingredients -- like white chocolate! (um, oookay) -- baked in individual ramekins, puffed to a St. Tropez golden brown, and served with ooh la la creme anglaise. My pumpkin bread pudding, even accessorized with dried cranberry bling, was basically Uptown's battered and bruised downtown ghetto crack den cousin. Not that they would ever admit that they're related. Those crack addicts have a reputation to maintain.
Thankfully, vanilla ice cream is strangely similar to a shimmering lip gloss.
There is nothing a little "a la mode" can't fix.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dried Cranberries Recipe
Bread pudding recipes often say you can use "stale bread," but what they really mean is "dried bread." Unless you want your bread pudding to taste like stale bread, throw it out on the patio for the birds and dry out your fresh bread in the oven.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding Ingredients:
1 lb. loaf of firm white bread, crust removed, cut into 1" cubes
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each of ground cloves and ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (or a pinch - it's the same thing)
Pumpkin Bread Pudding Directions:
Cut a 1 lb. loaf of firm white bread into 1″ cubes, spread out onto a baking sheet, and let them sit in a 200 degree oven until they’re dry.
In a large bowl, combine 2 c. heavy cream, 2 c. pumpkin puree, 2 large eggs, 1 c. brown sugar, 1 T. vanilla extract, 1 t. cinnamon, and ½ t. each of ground cloves and ground ginger, and ¼ t. nutmeg (or a pinch – it’s the same thing).
Soak the dried bread cubes and 1 c. dried cranberries (or nuts or chocolate chips or whatever you feel like using to bling out your bread pudding) in the mixture for about 30 minutes. You can preheat the oven to 350 while you’re soaking.
Pour the bread cubes into a very well buttered baking dish. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until it looks "done."
You can serve your bread pudding straight up if it's presentable that way, but even super models wear a little lip gloss.