Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

Pumpkins are most popular during the fall and winter months.  They are believed to have their origins in the ancient Americas.  The term pumpkin comes from the Greek word, “pepon”, which means “large melon”.  Pumpkins are members of the squash family.  Scientifically, they are classified as a fruit.  Nearly every part of the pumpkin is edible.  They lend themselves to both savory and sweet dishes.  Pumpkin puree and spices add fall flair to a dish originally created to keep stale bread from going to waste.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces of plain bread (cubed or broken into small pieces)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 quart of half & half
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (OR 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix together the wet ingredients and the spices – eggs, half & half, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  3. Gradually stir in the bread pieces.
  4. Allow the wet ingredients to saturate the bread pieces (see the information below).
  5. Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish.
  6. Bake the bread pudding mixture for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the middle of the pudding is set. (Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick.  When the toothpick comes out clean the bread pudding should be done.)
  7. Allow the dish to cool completly.
  8. Dust the top with powdered sugar.

The longer the bread pieces are stirred into the wet ingredients, the smoother the bread pudding will become.  For chunkier bread pudding, use larger pieces of bread and/or place the plain bread into the buttered pan and pour the wet ingredients on top without stirring.  Adding more of the pumpkin pie spices will give the dessert a stronger flavor.  The bread pudding can be served warm.  However, the powdered sugar will dissolve immediately if the dessert is warm.  Whipped cream or ice cream would also pair well with pumpkin spiced bread pudding.  Consider adding a cup of raisins or chopped nuts to the recipe.

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