It was so easy that despite being at my wit’s end after Tuesday night’s fiasco, I made it anyway. Burrowing our spoons into still warm, bourbon-spiked (like I could resist) sweet fall comfort was heavenly, and as I chewed on those buttery bread cubes and pondered the ginger’s edginess, memories of cooking failures fell away, and there was just this, a blissful and eerily wholesome calm.
There is utter genius is combining two of life’s great pleasures, baked French toast and pumpkin pie, into something you could as easily eat for dessert as a decadent brunch side dish. If you dot it with vanilla bean flecked yogurt, I don’t think people would remember a single other thing you made. And if you invited me over, I might never leave.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, October 2007
I made a few of my own adaptations to this, using only milk and no cream (to me, it makes no difference to me in dishes like this, so I figure I’ll give my arteries a break), and doubling almost all of the spices. Oh, and I added bourbon, but you probably anticipated that.
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 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted* (can skip this step if using the second set of instructions)
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Gourmet’s Instructions: Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon, if using, in a bowl.
Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.
Alternate, Come On, Be Lazy With Me, instructions: While preheating oven to 350°F with rack in middle, melt butter in bottom of a 8-inch square baking dish. Once it is melted, take it out of the oven and toss bread cubes with butter, coating thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients. Pour them over buttered bread cubes in baking dish, stirring to make sure all pieces are evenly coated. Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.