If you love the combination of pumpkin, maple, bourbon and pecans (I mean, really now, is there anyone who doesn’t?), this might just become your new favorite fall dessert. The rich, baked pumpkin bread pudding is accented with warm fall flavors – bourbon, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – and then served topped with a maple flavored whipped cream and a scattering of candied pecans. You can serve the pudding warm or cold, as you like – it’s excellent either way. Note that the pudding needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before baking, so plan ahead.
Makes 9 servings
Quick Candied Pecans:
- 3/4 cup (75 grams) pecan halves, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Pumpkin Bread Pudding:
- 1 cup (245 grams) Libby’s pumpkin puree
- 2 ½ cups (604 grams) half-and-half
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 grams) bourbon (or substitute half-and-half, if you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 large (200 grams) eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 loaf day-old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (the weight will vary, but you need about 5 cups/1.18 liters of bread cubes)
- 1 cup (232 grams) heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons (40 grams) maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure maple extract*
- 1 tablespoon (7 grams) confectioners’ sugar
*Note: pure maple extract is available here.
Make the candied pecans:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Place the pecans in a small bowl and toss well with the vanilla, sugar and salt. Scatter the nuts on the baking sheet and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, tossing them once during baking, until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Make the bread pudding:
- Butter the interior of a 9-inch square baking dish; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, half-and-half, sugar, bourbon, vanilla and maple extract, and spices. Add the lightly beaten eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the bread cubes to the pumpkin mixture and toss well with a rubber spatula until the bread cubes are completely coated. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish, making sure that the bread cubes are evenly distributed. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place a plate on top of the plastic wrap. Place 2 cans (i.e., pumpkin puree or soup) on top of the plate, and refrigerate the pudding for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
- When you are ready to bake the pudding, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Take the pudding out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before baking.
- Remove the plastic wrap (and cans!) from the pudding and replace with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down. Place the baking dish into a roasting pan and place the pans in the oven. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until the center is just slightly wobbly when gently shaken. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the bread cubes are lightly browned. Cool the pudding in the dish, set on a wire rack, for at least 15 minutes.
Make the Maple Cream:
- Put the cream, maple syrup, vanilla and maple flavoring in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at high speed until soft peaks just begin to form. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat at high speed just until firm peaks form. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
- You can serve the bread pudding warm or cold (it’s delicious either way). Cut it into 3-inch squares and top with a generous dollop of Maple Cream and some Candied Pecans.