November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Bourbon Bread Pudding

I'll be honest with you, internets. There isn't really a way to photograph this bread pudding so that it looks "pretty." It's an orange and brown speckled mess of bread chunks and pudding, and it just doesn't look all that attractive in pictures. However, the flavor more than makes up for this! So you can just ignore the messy photo above and instead, imagine a warm mouthful of bourbon-spiked pumpkin, highlighted by cinnamon, ginger and cloves...all mixed up with toasty hunks of challah bread. Yeah, isn't that better?

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen (a fantastic food blog) and knew immediately that I had to make it. It's so simple - toss bread cubes with butter, whisk together pudding ingredients, toss everything together, bake. The only thing I'll do next time is use a little less bread. I used a whole loaf of challah, which was a little too much. The bourbon is optional, of course, but why wouldn't you want it? If you have a can of pumpkin laying around, please make this. You'll thank me!

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, October 2007 & Smitten Kitchen

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

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
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.