September 22 is the first day of fall, and that makes today autumn eve. We’re celebrating with Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Brandied Whipped Cream, a recipe I developed back in June for the folks at Le Creuset. I wanted to share it with you back then, but running a pumpkin recipe in June is like publishing a watermelon sorbet recipe in December. I’ve been patiently waiting, and today is the day.
A few weeks ago we celebrated David’s birthday, and in our family, the birthday boy or girl chooses the menu. There was little hesitation as David rattled off the appetizer, first course, and entrée, but he got stuck on dessert. That is until I reminded him of this pumpkin bread pudding.
It was a hit when I made it for his birthday dessert that Friday night, and people loved it when I made it again for Sunday brunch a few days later. So as you plan for the fall holidays, keep this dish in mind since it doubles as a glorious fall dessert as well as a breakfast or brunch entrée.
I’ve purposely kept sugar levels low for those who don’t like it overly sweet dessert, but there’s the option of drizzling it with a little caramel sauce at dessert or maple syrup for breakfast.
Here’s to a glorious fall for us all.
- 1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
- 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon each: ground ginger and cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half
- 6 thick slices good quality raisin bread, cut into large dice (about 6 cups)
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- A generous ½ cup your favorite caramel sauce
- Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch baking pan.
- Heat pumpkin, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until sputtering hot. Meanwhile beat eggs in a medium bowl. Working slowly at first to keep eggs from curdling, whisk pumpkin mixture into eggs. Continue to whisk in pumpkin mixture until smooth, then whisk in half and half. Add raisin bread: gently toss to coat, then turn into prepared casserole.
- Cover with foil and bake pudding for 20 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with walnuts. Continue to bake, uncovered, until fully set, about 30 minutes longer.
- Remove from bread pudding from oven and let stand until warm until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, add sugar and brandy to cream and beat to soft peaks. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, cut warm pudding into 8 or 9 pieces and transfer to serving plates. Drizzle with caramel sauce, dollop with cream, and serve.