I know, I know. Those of you who bake are focused on Christmas cookies and whatnot. I get it, having already made a batch of dark chocolate biscotti myself for a cookie swap. Regardless, winter squash still abounds here in New England and Cucurbitaceae remain a regular dinner component. (And not just for me, either: check out the fabulous meals my students made this week.) So I don’t care if it’s December or not: pumpkin bread pudding is a to-die-for dessert that is truly divine, and I simply must tell you more about it.
Oh, and I couldn’t decide on the right plating, so I’m also including two other options for your viewing pleasure, as it’s really a matter of style. Here’s the second.
This glorious recipe is from Bon Appétit via Epicurious. I already used the phrase “to-die-for”—what else is there to say? Well, let’s just put it this way: I’m really not a big bread pudding fan, at all. To this day, I’ve only had it a few times in my life, actually. My inspiration for making this dish stemmed from my leftover freshly roasted pumpkin that I had used in a soup. Maybe it’s the fresh gourd that is the real star in the dessert. Or perhaps co-star, as the caramel is among the best I’ve ever made (and I’ve tried many different recipes). Here’s another photo.
(Sorry for being such a food porn pusher today. I can’t help myself.)
I did make a few changes to this recipe, as I’m wont to do when I bake. Mainly, I used a gorgeous loaf of whole wheat bread from the farmers’ market: I served it at a post-Thanksgiving dinner party and my guest had no idea. Wouldn’t necessarily work as well with a more delicately flavored pudding, but with the robust flavors of pumpkin and fall spices, a hearty whole grain bread is just perfect. And it makes me feel a whole (groan) lot better about eating such a starchy dessert. Also, I only made half a recipe to make sure my husband and I weren’t eating bread pudding all week long (as scrumptious as that would be). Don’t forget to add a little vanilla extract to your whipped cream, either, and do feel free to add a soupçon of bourbon or rum to your caramel if you’re so inclined. (That’s what I usually do, though I was out this time; the tee totaler version is just lovely, I just like bourbon in baking.)
Finally, as pretty as these pictures are, they in no way do this delectable dessert justice.
Perhaps that’s why I felt the need to include three of them.
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Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She is currently training for the Boston Marathon, her third (more here, and here). She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time.
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