Ch. 36: The deceiving Pumpkin Bread Pudding

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I’d messed up. One morning I set out to make a variation of dinner rolls which turned into a mess. The dough was extremely sticky and so I added some flour to help me try and roll them. The second rise took way longer than the time I had, so in an effort to save them, I popped them in the fridge to bake off later. The resulting rolls weren’t good– they were harder due to the added flour and not as light and airy as other rolls I’ve tried. I’m determined to make that recipe work, so I’m holding off on an official post on them. Still, I didn’t want the bread to go to waste, so my natural thought was- make bread pudding. Bread pudding is something I make frequently, using an old recipe from Paula Deen I found over a decade ago. Whenever we have large parties, my family always gathers up the leftover hot dog buns and dinner rolls for me to make bread pudding later. I decided to ditch that old recipe this time around in favor of something a little different. I ended up being caught between two recipes: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Maple Bread pudding, both from King Arthur Flour. I decided to go with the Pumpkin Bread Pudding as my base and throw in some elements of the Maple one to get the best of both worlds (cue the Hannah Montana theme song).

For any new baker out there, bread pudding is a great place to start as it’s easy to put together and yields really great results. You start off by cubing up some bread and setting that aside while you make the custard. This couldn’t be easier, as all of the ingredients just get thrown into a bowl and whisked until smooth. I start off with the pumpkin puree and the eggs, and then whisk in the cream and milk. Next come the spices and flavorings which really elevate this whole thing. KAF’s recipe calls for granulated and brown sugar, vanilla, as well as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ground ginger. Do not skip the ginger or clove as it really balances the flavor. If you’ve ever had a bland pumpkin pie, it’s because they skipped the warm spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg are classic, but they’re honestly pretty bland on their own. Given that my family and I aren’t much for booze, I swapped out the rum for real maple syrup which is incredibly delicious and warm. Another element from the maple bread pudding recipe was the addition of walnuts which are toasted in the oven for about eight minutes until fragrant. Once you have all your components, it’s time to assemble. The bread and walnuts get placed into a greased 13×9 dish after which the custard is poured on top and the whole thing is left to sit out for a half hour. This allows the bread to soak up the custard. It’s then baked for about 35 minutes before it can be served warm. 

Let me tell you, the flavor of this is incredible. It tastes like a super silky pumpkin pie with the slight flavor of maple and all the toasted nuts that give off great texture. It’s not too sweet, meaning it goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream. There is a little bit of leeway with bread pudding in terms of texture. Most American recipes call for a softer, custardy texture while people here on Guam tend to go for something that’s more firm and slice-able. The first go was a bit soft for my taste, so I ended up sticking it back in the oven- for about 20 minutes more than the recipe called for- to firm a bit in order to get something similar to what we have here. The variation in baking time could be a result of using glass vs. metal pans, as glass takes longer to heat up. Or I may not have used enough bread to soak up that custard. These are all easy fixes anyway- so no real faults in the recipe. Anyway you slice it (or scoop it), this recipe is definitely a winner winner, Thanksgiving dinner. 

Full Recipe | Method from King Arthur Flour:

Pumpkin Bread Pudding:

https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/pumpkin-bread-pudding-recipe

Maple Walnut Bread Pudding

https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/maple-walnut-bread-pudding-recipe

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