I don’t know what Christmas morning is like at your house, but ours is pretty much chaos. The boys are up early, sometimes way too early, and breakfast doesn’t happen until all the stockings and presents have been opened and unwrapped. By then everyone is hungry and ready to eat, so tackling a major breakfast project isn’t going to happen. We still like a special breakfast, so I prepare as much as possible on Christmas Eve, and pumpkin bread pudding is both easy and special.
Bread pudding is a dish that can be breakfast or dessert or a side dish. It can be sweet or savory, and it’s a great make ahead dish. My family adores pumpkin bread pudding in autumn and winter, and I spice it up like pumpkin pie, which is really what it is. Just put bread pieces in a pan, pour pumpkin custard over the top, and bake. And it’s perfect for any weekend breakfast or brunch, not just holidays.
The bread should be old and able to soak up liquids without becoming gooey. If you have time, leave the bread out on the counter for at least a few hours; otherwise, toast the pieces on a large baking sheet for about 15 minutes before using. Bread pudding is also a good make ahead breakfast, just make it the night before and reheat in the morning while you whip up the glaze. And if you are feeling ambitious, you can also use roasted butternut squash instead of pumpkin.
[Updated January 1, 2014.]
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple Glaze
- 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking dish, greased
- medium mixing bowl
- small mixing bowl
- hand mixer
- 6 slices day-old dense bread (cut into 1/2-inch squares)
- 15 ounces unsweetened pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
- 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1¼ cups half-and-half
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 cup confectioners sugar (sifted)
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup
- 4 teaspoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
- In the mixing bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, eggs, and half & half. Mix in the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, making sure there are no lumps. Put the bread squares in the prepared baking pan and pour the pumpkin mixture over it all, making sure the pumpkin mixture covers all of the bread pieces.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the pumpkin is fully cooked with just a l little wiggle left in the middle, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until it is warm, but not too hot.
- In the small bowl, mix together the sugar, maple syrup, and milk. Drizzle over pieces of the warm bread pudding.