I’ve become a big fan of the bread puddings this season. I don’t know what took me so long.
Or actually, I do know: I thought I had a food aversion to anything called “pudding” that wasn’t, you know, jiggly in a bowl and chocolate flavored, preferrably topped with whipped cream.
It all started with Yorkshire Pudding. A youthful misunderstanding of exactly what it was burned a ridiculous thought into my brain: chocolate pudding served with meat. Which immediately sent me reeling into a meat-pie-similar defensive posture, ready to karate chop anyone coming at me with a forkful of pudding and meat (meat pies … another severe food aversion that persists to this day: Shepherd’s Pie [shivermetimbers]).
Happily, I’ve resolved my various pudding issues [although meat pies of any kind are still firmly boycotted, thank you very much] and have enjoyed the custardy bread pudding goodness on a number of occasions (including this recipe for baked French Toast, which, I came to realize while working through my Yorkshire Pudding misinformation, is actually just cinnamon-spiced bread pudding with booze.)
Bread pudding anything is so easy to pull together that it should definitely be a part of every baker’s repertoire. Whisk up some eggs and cream, add some flavorings, pour over bread cubes. Bake. Done.
So, when autumn rolled around, pumpkin bread pudding made my must-make list right away. I had visions of a tender, custardy pumpkin crumb flavored deeply with pumpkin pie spices, and a decadent chocolate drizzle.
Which immediately switched over to a decadent Nutella drizzle when I spied the jar in my cabinet.
Recently on Facebook, I saw an informal poll in my news stream: what food do you absolutely refuse to eat? There was a lot of the expected “mayonnaise” and “mushrooms” (both texture problem children. I can relate: I can’t stand the texture of shredded coconut. Unlike meat pies, it’s not the flavor — it’s the dry, papery, slivery chew — like thick hairs in your mouth. (Gah! My tummy flippity-flops just thinking about it.)).
I was deeply disappointed that no one in the poll listed “meat pies” (and so few listed shredded coconut) but I was not expecting to see “Nutella.” And I was floored to see Nutella paired so frequently with the word “loathe.” (The tone of some of the replies was almost confessional, as if folks were relieved to finally admit their Nutella hang-ups in the presence of like-minded people.)
Loathe. That’s some deep-seated disliking of Nutella right there.
I don’t have issues with Nutella (obvs), but if you do, first take comfort that you’re not alone, and second, use a chocolate drizzle instead (or, if it’s Nutella in particular, but not hazelnut flavor in general, melt some Gianduja in a bit of heavy cream, and thicken it with confectioners’ sugar until it reaches the drizzling stage).
Either way, I really recommend some kind of chocolate-y drizzle on the pumpkin bread pudding. It’s the cat’s meow.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 big pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix (homemade recipe here)
- 6 cups challah or other egg bread (preferably on the stale side) cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoon Nutella
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle position. Thoroughly butter or spray a 9x9" square pan.
- Prepare the bread pudding: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt, and spices in a bowl until well-combined and smooth. Fold in the bread cubes gently until coated. Transfer mixture to the pan, and bake until the custard is set, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove, and allow to cool completely in the pan.
- Prepare the glaze: In a microwave proof bowl, heat the milk until hot (about 20-30 seconds). Whisk in the nutella until smooth (it will be grainy at first - keep going). Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and whisk until incorporated. Add additional sugar in 1 tablespoon increments until the glaze has a drizzable consistency. Use a spoon (or the whisk) to drizzle about half of the glaze over the bread pudding.
- To serve: cut the bread pudding into squares and place on a plate. Drizzle with additional glaze, let it drip attractively off the sides. Top with a scoop of ice cream, or whipped cream (and drizzle more glaze over the ice cream if you're feeling especially saucy).
Source: adapted from this recipe