Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Maple Bread Pudding with Toffee Sauce

It seems everything, everywhere in the food stratosphere right now is about pumpkin.  Pumpkin has long been considered a star ingredient for Fall and holiday fare...and I recently decided it was high time that I join in on the fun.

Bucking the traditional pumpkin pie, I still wanted the flavors--the warmth, spice, and homey goodness--that have made it a perennial favorite.  From there my aspirations turned to coming up with a knockout version of pumpkin bread pudding that couldn't be resisted--or forgotten.  Combining pumpkin, maple and a host of "it must be the holidays already" spices, it was a treat in the making, with the usual ease that I love when making bread pudding.

And although this sugar-n-spice confection needs no further handling to enjoy, I couldn't resist finishing it with a generous drizzle of homemade, buttery toffee sauce.  

So when you're ready for decadent, perfect for breakfast, brunch, dessert--and all-around indulgent--noshing, this recipe is one you'll want in your arsenal.

Happy Eating!

Pumpkin Maple Bread Pudding  

1 lb. baguette cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups half-n-half
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground clove
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

Place bread cubes in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients (except for the butter, which is used above) and whisk to combine well.  Pour the custard mixture over the bread and allow the bread to soak in the mixture for 10-15 minutes.

Pour the bread and custard into the baking dish and bake until set, approximately 45-50 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature with toffee sauce (recipe to follow) and enjoy.

Toffee Sauce    
1 stick of unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup dark brown sugar 
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt 

Heat ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.  Increase the heat to a medium heat and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.


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