by Katherine Rossmoore.
Here in our neck of the woods, as we New Englanders call it, we’ve had the most amazing Indian summer (aka warm October!). But like all things in Nature, the leaves still turn, the days get shorter, and cheerful bright pumpkins adorn doorsteps and porches, fences and fields. I love the look and the flavor of pumpkin and have even been known, despite my penchant for clean healthy eating, to succumb to the pumpkin muffins sold at our local coffee joints. Pumpkins are bright reminders of autumn goodness and I began to envision creating a pumpkin bread pudding long before I finally settled down to make it.
What kick-started me to action was a beautiful sweet cinnamon swirl loaf bread I had in the house, which, inexplicably, no one was eating! (My biggest eater is off to college and my youngest doesn’t like toast. Really?) I realized days ago when I started keeping it in the fridge that it would be perfect for bread pudding. Especially pumpkin maple syrup bread pudding. Warning: It is rich, decadent, comforting, (yes, fattening!) and worth it.
Pumpkin Maple Bread Pudding
4 cups of bread, torn apart or cubed
2 cups whole milk or 1/2 and 1/2
1.5 cups cooked pumpkin (or about 3/4 can of organic pumpkin)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 t pumpkin pie spice ( or cinnamon and nutmeg combined)
dash of sea salt
If you wanted to ramp up the antioxidants and flavor, you could add some fresh or dried cranberries to the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 325 and spread the bread out on a baking sheet; toast lightly in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Butter or grease a deep pie dish or 8 x 8 baking pan. Make a custard with milk (try to warm or have everything at room temperature), eggs, pumpkin puree, maple syrup and spices. Place the bread pieces into the prepared dish and then pour the custard over it. (I had extra custard, but you could use 5 cups of bread and place in a 9 x 11 dish for a bigger version). Let it sit for 20 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an hour or and hour and fifteen minutes, until custard appears firm. You can drizzle maple syrup over the top for an over-the-top sweetness. Because I used a sugary cinnamon swirl bread, I didn’t need the extra sweet!
Katherine Rossmoore is an integrative health and wellness guide, using her love of clean whole foods and cooking to help people demystify the healthy kitchen. She is also a writer, mother and certified yoga teacher. Find her atwww.betterlivingthroughfoods.com