so, i love pumpkin. a lot. especially in desserts and breakfasts. and yet. if you search my site for pumpkin recipes, you will find a mere two (well, now three), neither of which are sweet (ok, well, now this one is here and it’s sweet).
i mean, the pasta with easy pumpkin sauce and pumpkin ravioli sauce are great but what in the heck?!? where are my pumpkin scones, my pumpkin cookies, my pumpkin chocolate chip cake, my pumpkin bread pudding, my pumpkin pancakes/waffles???
seriously, what was i doing last fall that i didn’t get those classic, timeless, FAVORITES up here for all of us to bake and fill our kitchens with all the good smells and then eat pumpkin everything until we feel just a little bit ill?
oh, right. a big huge project at work and house hunting two states away every weekend. ok, fine, but still…
we clearly have lost pumpkin time to make up for and i say we go all in and start with pumpkin bread pudding.
where do i even start?! just, go make it. yes, even/especially those of you who think you don’t like bread pudding. because i didn’t either. then my friend found this recipe and i discovered that i LOVE bread pudding.
if you’re still not sure, i get it. i mean, what marketing genius came up with the name “bread pudding”? best case, we’re picturing jello pudding with bread cubes trapped in there. worst case? worst case is the british meaning of pudding…
but this! this pumpkin bread pudding is all of the good everything! basically the bread acts as a vehicle for pumpkin-y pie spice flavor deliciousness. if you eat it warm from the oven, the top bits will be a little bit crispy and the inside part will be soft and amazing. even as leftovers when everything is soft from being microwaved, this pumpkin bread pudding still doesn’t turn gloppy the way pumpkin desserts are apt to (::cough pie cough::).
oh! and since we’ve healthy-ed this baby up (replacing half and half with whole milk and too much sugar with a more moderate amount of maple syrup), i think it could totally pass for breakfast with only a minimal amount of self-deception, if you swap plain (or vanilla) yogurt for the whipped cream. just sayin’…
we have lost pumpkin time to make up for, after all.
- 1 ¾ cups (14 oz. / 414 ml) whole milk
- 15 oz. (425 g.) canned plain pumpkin (*not* pumpkin pie filling)
- ½ cup (4 oz. / 118 ml) pure maple syrup, ideally grade b/ grade a: dark color & robust flavor
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 oz. (283 g. / about 10 cups) soft italian bread, cut into 1” (2.5 cm) cubes, see notes
- 1 cup (8 oz. / 237 ml) cold heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- in a large bowl, whisk the milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and vanilla to combine. add the bread cubes and gently fold in (try to avoid mashing them into a paste). transfer the bread pudding to an 11” x 7” glass baking dish and let it rest for 15 minutes. preheat the oven to 350° F.
- bake the pumpkin bread pudding for about 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. serve warm.
- while the pumpkin bread pudding is baking, whip the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. i didn’t sweeten the whipped cream because the bread pudding is plenty sweet and i liked the contrast.
i know it’s tempting to use challah in this bread pudding but i tried it and it breaks down too quickly and turns into a kind of homogeneous mess. i’d recommend sticking with the soft italian bread.
leftovers keep well tightly covered in the refrigerator. warm leftovers in the microwave.
adapted liberally from pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce, found on epicurious and originally published in bon appétit in november of 2000.
nutrition facts are based on dividing pumpkin bread pudding into 6 servings, whipped cream not included