I did not grow up eating bread pudding… in fact, I was well into my 20s when I experienced my first taste of this comforting, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.
It was love at first bite.
My previously conceived notion that bread pudding would be dense and chewy was immediately replaced with the fortunate realization that it is in fact light and tender.
Another aspect of this sweet treat that appealed to me was the versatility it offered to the baker. The ingredient add-in options are plentiful: Chocolate chips. Dried fruit. Fresh fruit. Nuts. Pumpkin. If you have been following Food For Living (previously www.foodforliving.wordpress.com) for any length of time, you are well aware of my fiendish preoccupation with all things pumpkin – especially during this time of year. I searched through various recipes for pumpkin bread pudding, and was slightly put off by the traditional use of heavy cream and refined sugar. Surely I could come up with a healthier version of this typically decadent dessert.
|Name||Pumpkin Raisin Bread Pudding|
|Prep Time||20 minutes|
|Cooking Time||55 minutes|
|Total Time||1 hour|
I subbed in reduced fat milk for the heavy cream, and a modest amount of pure maple syrup for the granulated sugar. A handful of raisins added a bit more natural sweetness, as well as visual appeal and textural contrast, to the bread pudding. The final result was exactly what I had envisioned: a fluffy texture, slight sweetness, increased fiber from the whole wheat bread, decreased fat content without sacrificing flavor or consistency, and a lovely pumpkin essence. This version of pumpkin bread pudding is healthy enough to eat for breakfast, but certainly “dessert-y” enough to enjoy after dinner.
- 6 slices cinnamon raisin bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 4 slices whole wheat bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup raisins
1. Prepare the Bread
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Cut the day-old bread into cubes, ensuring they are bite-sized and roughly uniform in size. Spread the bread cubes evenly in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. Mix the Pumpkin Mixture
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the canned pumpkin, eggs, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt until the mixture is well combined.
3. Combine with Bread and Raisins
Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish. Use a spoon to gently press the bread cubes down to ensure they absorb the liquid. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the top.
4. Bake to Perfection
Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the pudding is set and the top is golden brown. You can test for doneness by inserting a knife into the center; it should come out clean.
5. Optional Caramel Sauce
While the bread pudding is baking, you can prepare a decadent caramel sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the granulated sugar until it turns a deep amber color. Add the unsalted butter and heavy cream, stirring until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
6. Serve and Enjoy
Once the bread pudding is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the warm caramel sauce over the top if desired. Serve the Pumpkin Raisin Bread Pudding warm, and savor the wonderful flavors and comforting textures of this autumn delight.
Estimated Nutrition Serving
The nutritional values are approximate and may vary depending on the specific brands and ingredients you use. Additionally, the caramel sauce is optional and not included in these nutrition facts. If you choose to add caramel sauce, be sure to account for its nutritional content separately.