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Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding
Use up extra canned pumpkin and day-old croissants in this satisfying bread pudding recipe.
Bread pudding: breakfast or dessert? That’s a question I’ve wondered for most of my life. I happen to believe that this pumpkin pie bread pudding would be perfect for breakfast or dessert, even with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream plopped onto a slice of warm-from-the-oven bread pudding.
The same week I made these delicious chocolate chip pumpkin spice cookies, a New York City-based client of mine sent me an overnight care package of croissants from Maison Kayser. They’re pretty much my favorite croissants, ever. Not wanting them to go to waste, I wanted to at least attempt to make a bread pudding using the rest of the canned pumpkin purée I’d opened a day earlier to make those cookies. My husband, the pumpkin hater, told me I was wasting my time because the finished product would be disgusting.
He loved it so much that he took half the baking dish to work. That makes two pumpkin recipes he's enjoyed.
I knew right away I had made something spectacular. This bread pudding is for people who say they hate pumpkin. And people who say that bread pudding is just a watery-version of French toast. At its heart, this is a bread (or croissant) casserole that tastes like the very best pumpkin pie you’ve ever tasted.
The combination of the dried cranberries and rye whiskey is a match made in sweet tooth heaven, and I definitely plan to use the combo more frequently. The cranberries are perfectly sweet and compliment the pumpkin custard filling, which I’ve seasoned with my pumpkin pie spice.
About a year ago, I found the base to this bread pudding recipe in my grandmother’s recipe collection. It seems fitting that I am sharing this with you today since yesterday would have been her 84th birthday. While she wasn’t much of a pumpkin fan, she certainly had a place in her heart for recipes like this one. When I was growing up, she typically served her bread pudding for breakfast or brunch, with a generous serving of maple syrup or some boozy-syrup she had thrown together in a hurry. Whenever I find myself missing her, I like to cook one of her recipes. Her original bread pudding recipe used brioche and bananas, the latter of which I refuse to cook with.
This pumpkin pie bread pudding would make an excellent brunch dish for the morning after Thanksgiving, a dessert that feeds an army after an autumn dinner party, or even served in place of a traditional pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Just don't skimp on the ice cream.
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup rye whiskey
- 8 croissants, cubed
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 7 eggs eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- for serving vanilla or custard ice cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice