With a cabinet full to bursting with cans of pumpkin puree, multiple bags of pumpkin seeds, plus giant pumpkins lined up on my front step, waiting to be carved, it’s a surprise that I haven’t yet turned orange. This versatile squash has been working its way into every dish of every meal, be it sweet or savory, and it’s about time that I have something to show for it. Luck was on my side when a good hunk of stale bread crossed my path, practically begging to be used lest it end up in the waste bin. For ages, some sort of pumpkin bread pudding had been on my “to bake” list, and finally, I can cross that one off for good.
Simple as all get-go, I might argue that it’s even better than that ubiquitous pumpkin bread that everyone and their best friend feels the urge to make around this time of year. Warm, creamy, and comforting, it’s the perfect dessert to ward off those autumn chills while celebrating the season’s bounty. It’s a snap to customize depending on your preference; consider the spices as a mere suggestion, and a handful or two of nuts, chocolate, or dried fruit never hurt anything.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
1/2 Pound Crusty Bread
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Cup Plain Soymilk
1 Tablespoons Dark Rum
1/4 Cup Crystallized Ginger, Chopped Finely
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
First, slice your bread into 1 inch cubes, and set aside.
Whisk together the pumpkin puree, cornstarch, sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Once smooth and thoroughly combined, slowly drizzle in the soymilk and rum, and stir until the mixture is homogeneous. Toss in the bread cubes and crystallized ginger, and use a wide spatula to gently coat the bread with the pumpkin. Pour the lumpy mixture into your prepared pan, and smooth the pieces down into an even layer. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature for the liquids to soak in a bit, and then bake for 45 – 50 minutes. The edges should appear set, but the interior will remain quite soft and moist. Good bread pudding should be very moist, so be careful not to over bake it!
Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. You can either take the time to make nice, neat slices like I did, or just grab a large spoon and scoop it out onto plates. It will taste good no matter what, so it doesn’t matter if it’s bit a ugly! Serve warm with caramel, whipped creme, or maybe even fudge sauce.