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.
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.
Pumpkin Raisin Bread Pudding
very loosely adapted from Cooking Light’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding
yields 9 servings
- 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
- Combine the milk through pumpkin puree in a large bowl, whisking until well combined. Add bread cubes and raisins, stir gently to coat.
- Spoon mixture into an 8×8 inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- Place square dish in a 13×9 inch baking dish; add hot water to larger dish to a depth of 1 inch. Cover with foil, and bake at 350*F for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.