What You Need:
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- 1 16-ounce loaf day old bread, torn into small pieces
- ½ cup dried cherries (or raisins)
- ½ cup chopped peanut-free pecans (optional)
For the caramel sauce:
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Splash of bourbon (optional for adults)
What You Do:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a very large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla.
- Carefully fold in the bread and dried cherries. Add the pecans, if using.
- Transfer to a 9" x 13" baking dish and place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- While the bread pudding bakes, prepare the caramel sauce. Kids, since melted sugar is extremely hot, let an adult do this part while you watch at a safe distance.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat until it turns a dark amber color. Watch it carefully so that it doesn't burn, and swirl the pan to ensure all of the sugar dissolves.
- Immediately add the butter and stir until it melts. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream, vanilla, salt, and bourbon (if using).
- Let the sauce cool several minutes before pouring over the bread pudding. It may be tempting to omit making the sauce to save a little time and effort, but it is really worth it!
- When the bread pudding is done, remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Serve slices drizzled with warm caramel sauce. For an extra treat, add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. Everyone will be swooning over this recipe!
Did You Know?
The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word pepon, or “large melon.” Pumpkins are 90% water. In early colonial days, pumpkins were used in piecrust recipes, not the filling itself.