There is something so warm and cozy about bread pudding. One of my favorite things is playing around with the classic flavors. For fall, there is nothing like a pumpkin bread pudding. It has a rich pumpkin spice flavor, nutty chopped pecans, and a creamy vanilla bourbon sauce that gets poured on top. Best served hot, this pumpkin bread pudding will become a staple in your fall kitchen.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Pumpkin: This recipe was developed around 1 can of pumpkin. I hate pumpkin recipes that require only ¼ cup or half a can because I never get around to using the entire can of pumpkin, so it's just sitting in my fridge, lonely and forgotten. Any 15 oz can of pumpkin puree will work for this recipe.
- French Bread: For this, I prefer to grab a generic french loaf at the grocery store. No need to go fancy with it. Cheap bread is great for bread pudding!
- Eggs+Milk+Sugar: While this is a bread based dessert, your pudding comes from the combination of eggs, milk, and sugar. It helps solidify the mixture and give it that classic, custardy texture.
- Spices: Relying on traditional pumpkin pie spices, this recipes using cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Feel free to substitute out your favorite spices!
- Pecans: With the sweet, creamy texture of the bread pudding, there is no contrasting texture. I love to add a chopped nut to bread pudding for some juxtaposition in texture and flavor.
- Bourbon Sauce: The sugar in the bread pudding doesn't provide a lot of sweetness. Rather, it is being used to create that custard base. The sauce adds in sweetness to the bread pudding. Further, the bourbon and vanilla flavors pair well with the pumpkin, spices, and pecans. It brings out the original flavors in the bread pudding and enhances them.
How to Make Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Bourbon-Vanilla Cream Sauce
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350F. Then, take a casserole dish and grease it with a thin layer of butter or oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the bread pudding except the pecans and bread. For best consistency, begin with eggs and sugar, whisking until fully combined. Then, add in pumpkin. While you can mix all together at once, by having less liquid in the bowl when you begin thinning out the pumpkin puree, the neater the process will be.
- As you add in your bread, fold it in very gently. There is a thin balance between fully coating the bread and over-folding. Make sure you fold it in. If you stir, the movement will be too severe, and the bread will break down. Let it sit and soak for thirty minutes, folding the bread once more around the fifteen minute mark.
- Take your greased pan and begin to layer in your bread pudding. Taking a third of your mixture, gently spread into a singular layer on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a third of your chopped pecans generously across the layer. Repeat until bread pudding and pecans are finished.
- Place pumpkin bread pudding on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Because of the coloring, it can be difficult to tell if the top is browning. If you aren't sure if it's done, you can use a knife. Insert it in the center, if it comes out clean, it's finished. Alternatively, you can use a food thermometer to test the internal temperature. Bread pudding should be 160F when finished baking.
- About 15 minutes before the bread pudding is finished baking, begin making your sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pot and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly. When the mixture begins to boil on the edge of the pan, lower the heat to medium-low and continue to whisk for an additional five minutes.
- Let both the bread pudding and sauce cool slightly before serving. I recommend pouring the sauce over individual pieces to allow people to decide how much sauce they want. A lot of the sweetness in this recipe comes from this sauce, so I highly recommend making it alongside the bread pudding.
Bread Pudding FAQ
What kind of bread is best for bread pudding?
I prefer to buy a cheap, grocery store loaf of French bread from their bakery section. You can also use a brioche or a similar type of bread. A lot of people use plain, white bread. I do not like to because I find it loses all its texture in the process. However, some people prefer that in a bread pudding. I like to still have some substance to my bread when its done.
Can I use evaporated milk in my bread pudding?
I developed this recipe using regular milk, but you can obviously substitute milk for evaporated milk. this recipe calls for 1 cup whole milk. You can substitute ½ cup evaporate milk mixed with ½ cup water for 1 cup whole milk.
What are some things that I can add-in?
I love adding pecans, but you could easily substitute walnuts. If you want a more intense crunch, with. some-flavor, you could add in chopped pralines instead. Chocolate chips would also be an amazing addition for a pumpkin bread pudding!
Can I bake this as individual servings?
Of course! I would recommend cutting the recipe in half if you want to bake in smaller ramekins. You'll also have to watch the baking time because a smaller container will bake faster. I would begin checking it around the 35 minute mark.
Can I freeze my bread pudding?
You can freeze bread pudding, but I don't recommend it. Freezing ultimately introduces water molecules into the pudding. If you do freeze it, let it slowly defrost inside the refrigerator over night and then bake until warm. Do not freeze the sauce. The sauce will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but I would make it fresh if you plan on freezing the bread pudding.
Can I Use a Caramel sauce instead of the bourbon cream sauce?
Normally, I love a good caramel sauce on anything, but I much prefer a bourbon cream sauce for this bread pudding. It adds a richness to it without overpowering it. Something like a caramel sauce can overpower more gentle flavors if you aren't careful. If you would prefer a caramel sauce, I'd check out my bourbon pecan bread pudding. I love drizzling caramel on it!
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- 14 oz french bread, cubed
- 2 large eggs
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
Bourbon Cream Sauce
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup bourbon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a casserole pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except bread and pecans. Gently fold bread into mixture. Let set for 15 minutes. Fold again, making sure all bread is evenly coated. Let set for an additional 15 minutes.
- Scoop ⅓ of bread mixture into the bottom of your casserole dish. Spread across bottom. Sprinkle ⅓ of pecans on top of the mixture. Repeat until all bread and pecans are layered into dish. Bake for 40 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.
- While the bread pudding bakes, combine all ingredients into a medium sauce pot. Whisk vigorously over medium heat. When the edges of the mixture begin to boil, lower heat to medium-low and whisk for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Let sit for 5 minutes before pouring over sliced bread pudding.