Ginger-Pumpkin Bread Pudding
The masterminds over at Slashfood have jumped the gun on Halloween by declaring today The Great Pumpkin Day and calling on the food-obsessed among us to post all sorts of pumpkin-related goodies. Of course I've been busy with pumpkin stuff here at Stephencooks because pumpkin is a great Fall food, and as my regular readers know, I love Fall foods -- give me a crackling fire, falling leaves and a blustery wind outside and I'm straight into the kitchen to make cobblers, stews, pies and cups of steaming hot chocolate.
Of course, pumpkins get carved around here too, but cooking with them is almost as much fun. Bread pudding is an easy dessert that I almost never get tired of making. I adapted this Ginger - Pumpkin Bread Pudding very loosely from one published in Bon Appetit a few years ago and credited to Commander's Palace in New Orleans, though I've made so many changes over the years that the lineage from the Palace's version to this one is extremely blurry.
Not only is this dish easy to make, it's the perfect finish for a casual dinner with friends. Made ahead of time, the puddings can go in the oven just as dinner goes on the table and be baked and still warm right on time an hour later. My favorite kind of make-it-look-effortless cooking!
Thanks, Slashfood, for coming up with The Great Pumpkin Day!
Pumpkin - Ginger Bread Pudding
1/3 C ginger, peeled and minced
2 T water
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C milk
1 C cream
1 medium loaf crusty white bread
1/2 C pumpkin purée
4 egg yolks
2 tsp amaretto
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C golden raisins
Butter 5 ramekins. Cut the bread in sticks, 1/2" x 1/2" by various lengths, leaving the crust on one end of each stick. Stand the sticks loosely in the ramekins, crust end up. There may be some bread left over -- do not crowd the bread.
Heat the water, ginger and sugar in a small heavy saucepan, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.
Stir the milk and cream into the ginger/sugar mixture. In a bowl, beat the egg and yolks briefly and then add the milk mixture, pumpkin purée, amaretto, vanilla extract, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir to mix well and spoon over the bread into the ramekins. (There may be some custard mixture left over.) Use a pastry brush to be sure all the crust ends have been coated. Scatter the raisins over the bread, scatter on a little sugar and a dusting of cinnamon. (Can be done ahead to this point and refrigerated up to 4 hours.) Allow the puddings to rest at least 30 minutes before baking.
Bake in a hot water bath to cover the bottom half of the ramekins in a preheated 350º oven about 35 - 40 minutes, until a tester comes out just moist. Allow to rest 20 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edge of the ramekins and unmold the puddings. Serve with some slightly sweetened whipped cream.