-- Bobby Flay, Food Network star and author of several cookbooks, including Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America's Great Flavors
This fantastic dessert is perfect for the cool months of late fall and winter. Cubes of tender pumpkin bread are baked in a rich custard laced with bourbon and maple syrup. Crisp apple cider is the base of a buttery caramel sauce spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise. Forget about serving the same-old pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and put this out instead for a new twist on two old classics. The recipe includes directions for making your own pumpkin bread to use in the pudding, but you can of course also use a loaf of pumpkin bread from your favorite bakery. Brioche or cinnamon-raisin bread would also work perfectly.
Unsalted butter, for the pan
8 cups 1⁄2-inch cubed Pumpkin Bread (see below) or other bread
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin puree, not flavored pie filling
2 tablespoons bourbon
Freshly whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 10-inch glass baking dish.
2. Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in the oven, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
3. Combine the cream, milk, and vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
4. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined. Discard the vanilla bean and whisk in the bourbon.
5. Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard.
6. Place the dish in a larger roasting pan and pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and the water bath and cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
7. Serve the warm bread pudding topped with
whipped cream and drizzled with spicy caramel
apple sauce (see below). Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds if desired.
Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
Scant 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, not flavored pie filling
2 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a small bowl.
3. Beat the butter, sugar, and oil on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
4. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. Mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and 2⁄3 cup water and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.
Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup apple juice
1 star anise
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon apple schnapps
1. Combine the cream, apple juice, star anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a clean small saucepan and place back over low heat while you make the caramel.
2. Combine the sugar, 1⁄2 cup water, and the vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring until a deep amber color, 8 to 10 minutes. Slowly and carefully whisk in the warm cream mixture a little at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the apple schnapps and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. The sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat before serving.
Reprinted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson. Copyright © 2011. Photos copyright © 2011 by Ben Fink. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.