Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

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Hello all-  It’s October– the start of my favorite baking season!  I picked up some cans of pumpkin at the market and so far it’s been pumpkin bread, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cake and this– pumpkin bread pudding.  What’s next?? Pumpkin pizza???!!  just joking– maybe.

So when the weather gets crisper, it’s perfect to serve this cozy warm dessert.  (Though actually we are still waiting for some crispy weather here in So California!!– we’ll just have to imagine a chill in the air!)  In either case, I think you might like a homey dessert about now…

PUMPKIN SPICE BREAD PUDDING

Pecan Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tab. flour
3 tab. butter, room temperature*
1/2 cup pecans, chopped to bits (or a little more if you love pecan like I do!)

French toast:
1 unsliced loaf plain white bread**
8 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice***
2 tab. white sugar
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk

Caramel sauce & ice cream!!

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To make the topping layer, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.  The cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until it resembles coarse crumbs.  The stir in the chopped pecans. Set this aside for later.

Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes with a serrated knife (so it won’t come out squashed).

Then in another mixing bowl whisk the eggs until they are blended and frothy.  Stir in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and white sugar until blended.  Then mix in the pumpkin pie puree and milk until it’s all well combined.

Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Drop in all the bread cubes.  Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread and gently mix it all in the baking dish until the breads coated with pumpkin.

Sprinkle the pecan topping over the top with your fingers to break it up and coat the whole thing evenly.

Pop it into a 350 oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the bread pudding is set and golden brown on top.  Best to eat it warm with a little maple syrup (for brunch) or with caramel and a plop of whipped cream or ice cream (for dessert after dinner).  Enjoy!

Here it is straight from the oven:
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*When you grab it from the fridge, just microwave it for 10-12 seconds to warm it a bit.
**I like the big spongey unsliced grocery store loaf–or a soft white challah bread…
***If you don’t have P.P.spice– use 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 cloves, 1/2 nutmeg.  And if you live near a Trader Joe’s– this is the time of year they sell their $2 bottles of pumpkin pie spice.  It’s great and cheap.  I buy a few to last all year…

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Caramel Almond Bread Pudding

IMG_2615Hello all– Every summer our group of young moms come on over for breakfast and then we’re off for a morning of thrift store shopping.  It’s some good laughs to compare the bargains we come up with!  Who doesn’t love a teddy beat shaped mug? Or an ashtray with a California map imprinted?  (ashtray??!) Love those girls!

So last Saturday, we were catching up around the table over this bread pudding and mugs of coffee. It was just sweet enough with custard-y filling and crunchy almonds–topped with caramel.  Just fine for breakfast with friends.

CARAMEL ALMOND BREAD PUDDING

Almond Butter:
1 cup unsalted toasted almonds
2 tab. butter
1 tsp. amaretto
(or almond extract or vanilla)*
2 tab. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Bread Pudding:
3 cups half & half (or whole milk)
1 tab. amaretto*
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 soft-ish baguette**
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tab. sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting to serve
Caramel sauce for serving***
optional– Whipped cream if you’re serving this for dessert (or breakfast– if you’re up for whipped cream for breakfast!)

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To make the almond butter, put the 1 cup toasted almonds, butter, 1 tsp. amaretto, 2 tab. sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt into a blender and blend into a paste (I used my trusty rusty sick blender since I don’t have a real honest blender).

Then in a large bowl, whisk the eggs until thoroughly mixed.  And stir in the half & half, 1 tab. amaretto, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Set aside.

Slice the baguette into neat slices (about 3/4″ thick)– and arrange them overlapping in a 10″ square or round baking dish.****  Pour the egg mixture over the bread and let it sit for an hour (or refrigerate and let sit overnight).

Sprinkle the 1/4 cup sliced almonds and then the 1 tab. sugar over the top.  Cover the dish with foil, tenting it up so it doesn’t touch the bread.

Bake the bread pudding for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.  Then remove the foil.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more until the top is golden brown.

To serve it up, dust the top with a little powdered sugar shaken through a sieve and have a little pot warmed caramel on the side to pour on top if you like.

notes:
*I use amaretto in place of almond flavoring because it’s so much less expensive and a big bottle will last about forever.  Vanilla would do just fine if that’s what you have on hand.
**I used a softer store brand baguette.  The nice thin ones with the super hard crust wouldn’t soak up the egg custard as well.  The original recipe I worked from called for brioche bread.  I think you could use most any loaf really.
*** I used Hershey’s caramel sauce warmed in the microwave since I was making several other dishes for this meal.  You could make your own lovely homemade sauce if you want!!
****A 7″x11″ would work as well.  I have a large-ish tart pan that was OK.

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Caramel Pear Bread Pudding

IMG_2101Hello there–  I know, I know it’s not really fall yet.  It felt like the depths of summer when we were out walking the trails yesterday with our kids.  whew!!  But school starts today and I’m just ready to be back to all that fall baking.  And this cinnamon and pear dish pretty clearly tastes like fall.  So I’ll just pretend it’s October and  dig in to a fruity, spicy plate full…

CARAMEL PEAR BREAD PUDDING
6 cups 1″ white firm bread cubes
2 tab. melted butter
2 red pears, cored & cut in small bits
1/4 cup dried currants*
3 eggs, beaten slightly
2 cups milk
1 cup caramel ice cream syrup, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

IMG_2119Put the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and toss them with the melted butter to coat the bread.  Then mix in the pears and currants.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup caramel syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.

Spread the bread cubes and pears evenly over a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Then pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes.  Smoosh the bread down into the egg mixture to be sure it is all moistened.

Bake the bread pudding in a 350 degree over for 50 to 60 minutes– until the top of the bread cubes are toasty and the custard (egg mixture) is set.

When you take the dish out of the oven.  Sprinkle the pecans over the top of the bread pudding and drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup of caramel syrup over it all.

Let it sit about 30 minutes to cool a bit and then serve it up with a happy serving of ice cream or whipped cream alongside.

*The recipe I worked from called for 1/4 cup dried cranberries, but I used currants — they’re a little more subtle.  Raisins or other dried fruits would work as well…

Bananas & Rum Bread Pudding

IMG_6651Hey there–  Here’s a recipe I’ve been dying to send off to you.  I love this cozy, mellow stuff!  I saw it published as a breakfast food!  Really?!  All that sugar and rum.  I would definitely slide it into the dessert category.

So when my young moms came to sit around our coffee table a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to spoon this delectable dish onto their plates. I think they loved it as much as I did.  Warm from the oven, with a piles of whipped cream.  It’s darn good.

BANANAS & RUM BREAD PUDDING
1 tab. canola oil
1 tab. butter
4 bananas, cut lengthwise, then sliced
1/2 cup rum
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
4 eggs
2  12 oz. cans evaporated milk
1 pound loaf of French bread, cut in 1″ cubes  (don’t cut off the crust please)

Streusel:
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup almonds, or walnuts, or pecans
2 tab. butter
powdered sugar

Plus–Whipping Cream to top it all off (of course) (– or you could settle for ice cream!)

IMG_6635In a large skillet, heat the 1 tab. canola oil and butter.  Add the bananas to the skillet and cook one minute to soften.  Then pour in the rum, brown sugar and salt.  Cook 3 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

In the largest bowl you have, whisk together the sugar, eggs, half and half and evaporated milk, thoroughly until the eggs are completely blended in.  Add the bread cubes and bananas into the bowl and mix it all up.

Pour everything into a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While that is cooking make the streusel. Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two forks still it looks like crumbs.  Stir in the nuts.

After 20 minutes of baking, remove the bread pudding from the oven and sprinkle on the streusel.  Bake 30 minutes more until golden and set.  Let it cool a few minutes, and then dust with powdered sugar, shaking it through a sieve.  It is the yummiest served warm with a happy scoop of whipped cream.