I know this is the wrong season: technically it's spring, not fall. But in Seattle, it rains from November through May, so I figure my eating doesn't have to follow seasonal variation I don't actually get to experience.
I know, this dish isn't pretty either. Bread pudding is rarely, if ever, pretty. It doesn't even sound good, and for years the name itself put me off: what kind of sicko puts bread in pudding? Since my discovery of the tastiness that is bread pudding, I've seen recipes for bread soup. Bread salads, I actually kind of understand (I was always a lover of croutons), but soup? Really? Really.
This bread pudding is like pumpkin pie meets bread pudding, basically, with a healthy gut-warming splash of bourbon. If that's not enough to make you try it, I don't know what is. Oh, well, it's really easy, too-- one bowl, one baking dish, one spoon. I prefer it to pumpkin pie now because there's no crust to mess with and I still get all my favorite flavors without the fear of failure that crust-making always inspires. Feel free to up the spices if you like; I usually double them.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, October 2007
Adapted again by Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2+ tablespoons bourbon (optional)
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
While preheating oven to 350°F with rack in middle, melt butter in bottom of a 8-inch square baking dish. Once it is melted, take it out of the oven and toss bread cubes with butter, coating thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients. Pour them over buttered bread cubes in baking dish, stirring to make sure all pieces are evenly coated. Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Eat warm.