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This is an outstanding pumpkin bread pudding recipe.  It calls for a dark pumpkin bread in lightly spiced custard with caramel streusel topping and a caramel sauce.  Top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

This is a four component recipe.  Such recipes are at their best when all four components are very good—and this one is.  The bread is outstanding, the egg custard is lightly spiced, the caramelized topping is great, and the caramel sauce is terrific.

To make the pudding:

4 cups pumpkin walnut bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes and allowed to stale for half a day—about 3 1/2 slices.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 large eggs
2 1/3 cups whole milk or half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

  1. Stir the granulated sugar and spices together in a large bowl.  Make sure they are well mixed.  Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Gently stir the cubed bread into the liquid and let it soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the bread and egg mixture into the baking pan. Spoon the topping (recipe follows) over the bread mixture.  Bake for 34 to 38 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
  3. Serve with the caramel sauce (recipe follows).

To make the topping:

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup walnut pieces

Cut the butter into the brown sugar and nuts until mixed.

To make the caramel sauce:

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 milk or half and half
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan.  Add the milk and butter.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the vanilla and stir.  Let it cool for 10 minutes. Serve over the hot or cold bread pudding.

Baker’s notes:  This is a fine bread pudding without the sauce.  The sauce is rich so you may prefer to just leave it off.  You may also use Cinnamon Cream Syrup. 

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