Looking for a holiday-friendly dessert that’s easy to whip up in big batches to feed surprise gatherings of guests? Or how about a seasonal dessert that’s sweet, comforting and satisfying, but also perfect for anyone experiencing the mouth tenderness, sores or difficulty swallowing associated with some types of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation treatment? Our Pumpkin Bread Pudding may be just the dessert you’re looking for, and even better: It uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
At this time of year, most of us have a collection of half-eaten bags of bread cluttering up our countertops; the stale end of a crusty baguette, a few slices of sandwich bread or some leftover dinner rolls all work equally well in this recipe. To increase the decadence of this sweet dessert even more, you can also buy a premade loaf of brioche (we used “Chocolate Almond” brioche for our photo which, trust us, wasn’t a bad decision), or a big braided challah. We include plenty of half-and-half and brown sugar in this recipe, as well as a can of store-bought pumpkin puree. Pumpkin is high in soluble fiber, which slows the digestive process and allows the body to absorb nutrients from food more easily. One cup of canned pumpkin also provides 505 milligrams of potassium, or about 14% of your recommended daily value of this energy-boosting electrolyte.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- 12 cups leftover bread, brioche or challah, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- Caramel sauce and whipped cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray, or a light greasing of salted butter.
Place bread pieces in a large bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine half-and-half, brown sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, and beat with a whisk or hand mixer to combine thoroughly. Pour over bread cubes, and toss until all pieces are coated in the pumpkin mixture, taking care not to break up the bread too much. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding sets and begins to brown on top, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then scoop and serve in individual bowls with warm caramel sauce or whipped cream.