Mmmm...pumpkin. Can you tell it's fall? Can you tell that despite LA's unnervingly consistent and unending sunny weather, some Midwestern instinct deep within me is screaming "Pumpkin! Cinnamon! It's fall-- now bake, woman!".
Fall doesn't really happen here, but I can live in denial and pretend that the air is getting cold and crisp, the leaves are changing, and it's time to break out the hats and mittens. This bread pudding helps me live in my fantasy world a little bit longer.
The recipe is originally from Gourmet (October 2007), but I used Deb's version, which boosts the flavor by doubling the spices and adding some bourbon. The secret to really tasty bread pudding, I've discovered, is to use challah, preferably homemade, but even not-so-great storebought challah can be transformed into fantastic bread pudding.
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
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
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
5 cups day-old challah, cut into 1-inch cubes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Whisk together pumpkin, cream/milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon, if using, in a bowl.
3. Put bread cubes in an 8-inch square baking dish and pour pumpkin mixture over top. If you have time, let it sit for a half hour or more (can even do this overnight, for an easy weekend breakfast) to let bread soak up liquid.
4. Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.