Bread pudding is probably one of the hardest things to photograph. It's just not attractive. At all. However, the flavor more than makes up for the homeliness of this dish. Especially when the base of the bread pudding is Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread and leftover Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Those two things are pretty awesome all on their own, but then you add a pumpkin bourbon custard mix to that and you have pure heaven. Comfort food doesn't really get much better than that, which means the ugliness of the dish can be easily forgiven -- at least by me.
I was going to make french toast with a loaf of the pumpkin brioche as well, but Friday night we set the loaf on the counter to get stale and then about 3 am on Saturday morning I discovered it on the bedroom floor. One of my dogs decided to "help" by bringing it upstairs for us. Ironically he didn't eat any of it and he barely did any damage to it beyond dog drool and one small puncture mark -- well, that and making it unusable... He just carefully took it from the counter and brought it upstairs for us because he was sure we might need it in the middle of the night.
He has a habit of doing that sort of thing -- finding some random food container and carefully carrying it upstairs for us in the middle of the night -- but this is the first time he's done it with something that wasn't actually in a container or a box. It must be the retriever in him... Our other dog Tank is a pit bull mix and he would have gobbled it up in about 2 seconds flat and then licked all the crumbs up to ensure no evidence was left behind. But of course, that's exactly why he's crated at night too... :)
I found the recipe for this bread pudding on Smitten Kitchen's site and it is excellent. She pulled the recipe from Gourmet Magazine, but then tweaked it a bit -- the version I have below is Smitten Kitchen's and the only change I made was to use half heavy whipping cream and half milk (I only had non-fat milk so figured a balance of fats would be a bit better) and to use the pumpkin brioche instead of plain stale bread. Either way I'm sure it would be excellent.
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* (can skip this step if using the second set of instructions)
Preheat oven to 350Â°F with rack in middle.
Gourmet’s Instructions: 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.