In New Orleans, everyone has a favorite bread pudding recipe: some with pineapple, some with raisins and apples, many with "hard" sauce (see below). I tried a new variation on my mother's bread pudding recipe. DS and I LOVE pumpkin, so as an alternative to Krispy Kreme's Pumpkin Spice Cake Donuts, I thought I would make a special Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding.
(If you have never had bread pudding, it is like a big baked pan of french toast.)
Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding
4 cups stale bread cubes (french bread and brioche are best, but any bread will work - even stale cake doughnuts, remember to adjust the sugar accordingly)
3 cups milk (I used 2 cups milk and 1 cup almond milk)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 can pumpkin (approx. 1 cup)
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (adjust to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar (you can adjust to your taste - you can also add sauce)
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 tablespoons Steen's Cane Syrup (optional)
If you do not have stale bread, place sliced/cubed bread on a sheet pan with sides and "toast" in a very low oven, just enough to dry out the bread.
Place bread cubes in a buttered baking dish. In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients, except pecans, making sure to fully beat eggs. Slowly, pour custard mixture over the bread. Allow bread to absorb the custard mixture. Sprinkle pecans over the top, and gently stir into mixture. Allow mixture to sit about 5 minutes to allow custard mixture to soak into bread.
Set baking dish into a larger dish, filling the larger dish with water (bain-marie). Bake in 350 degree oven for approx. 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and custard is cooked.
Delicious warm, or at room temperature (I will even eat it straight from the fridge). If desired, top with sauce (see below), or you may also use whipped cream, melted jelly, or dust with powdered sugar.
Pumpkin Spice Sauce
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Mix ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Add more water or sugar to desired consistency.
For a "hard" sauce, add 1 jigger of bourbon, rum, Cointreau or your favorite liquour.
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