Are you a fan of bread pudding? It seems to be particularly relegated to the South and I’ll admit it took me until about two years ago to actually try it. There are so many variations on a theme that the possibilities for bread pudding are endless… Sweet? Savory? Fruity? Chocolatey? This particular recipe is from the “Well” column in The New York Times and was originally vegan. I threw in a couple eggs for good measure, but they are easily omitted if you’d like. I was excited to have a venue for it at one of our Cincinnati Family Dinners. (Yes, this is a proper title and deserves capitalization.) My husband is from the ‘Nati and we have an extended family of his friends that live here in the District as well. We get together every few weeks for a potluck and it is one of my favorite things about our new home in DC. This was not my favorite bread pudding I’ve ever made (perhaps I’ll post that one another time) but it got an A from one particularly picky member of our Cinci family, so I’ll take that as a sign that it’s post-worthy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo post-baking as it was a party and I didn’t quite feel like tearing myself away for mobile phone photos of questionable quality. Mine dried out a bit, but I was using an oven that didn’t have a thermostat so I had no idea what the temperature was. 🙂
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg and 2 egg yolks
1 15 ounce can organic pumpkin
Milk as needed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
10 cups cubed day-old bread of your choice (about 10 to 12 slices of sandwich bread, depending on the thickness of slices)
3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
2. In a blender, process eggs, coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and spices until smooth. (I had to add some extra milk because even my Vitamix couldn’t handle the thickness of this batter.) In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips until each bread cube is coated.
3. Fill the baking dish with the mixture and lightly press it down with the back of a spoon. Evenly sprinkle about 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top, which will help the pudding to caramelize on the edges. (Steps 1 through 3 can be done up to three days in advance; store covered in the refrigerator.)
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Let the pudding cool a few minutes before serving then cut into portions and garnish with powdered sugar, if you like. Serve warm. The pudding can be baked right before serving or earlier that day and then reheated for 8 to 10 more minutes right before serving.