10 January 2011

monday make day: the lazy cook's pumpkin bread pudding

Our first installation of Monday Make Day didn't go very smoothly. Sweetpea was tired and cranky after her first day back at school. Little Mister took a break to play with his trains, but then was too busy playing to make it to the bathroom in time. But between caring for my cranky girl and cleaning up my wet boy, I managed to get this pumpkin bread pudding in the oven right on time. And both kids helped a little. Ultimately, a success.

I first saw this recipe when Ree, The Pioneer Woman, posted about her "Thanksgiving Throwdown" with Bobby Flay. It's Bobby's recipe. Ree's photos made it look so good. Rich. Sinful. Pumpkiny delicious.

But when I clicked over to Bobby's recipe, I almost gave up. His recipe detailed not only the bread pudding, but two separate sauces. It involved making custard twice.

You know me. I'm a lazy cook. I don't make custard. So I looked through the recipe to see where I could cut some corners. 
  • First, I scratched the caramel apple sauce off the list. I'm sure it's very tasty, but PW did fine without it, and I really didn't want to buy apple Schnapps. Plus, the kids are eating this, too, yo.
  • The vanilla bean creme anglaise. . . you know, in the pictures, it looks like melted vanilla bean ice cream. Hold the phone--isn't ice cream just frozen custard? Couldn't I use melted ice cream for all the custard used in this recipe?? 

I started by scooping some ice cream into a saucepan and letting it melt.
You can prepare other ingredients, play with the kids, get a head start on dinner.
Or you can turn on the heat under the saucepan and melt it right away.

 Chop up some pumpkin bread.
I just happened to have some in the freezer from October.
I toasted it in the oven to dry it out a bit.

I chopped up some pecans, because I had them around, and threw those in, too.

 I tossed them in a baking dish and began making the sauce.

 Ice cream "custard," pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar, and bourbon.

 The mister helped me with this part.
He likes to stir.

 Pour the sauce over the bread and pecans.

(This is a ton of sauce. Way more than needed for the bread. 
I have adjusted the amounts in the recipe below.)

 Here's a photo of the water bath.
Don't you just love oven photos?

But it's worth it. 
It's all worth it.
For this.

 Is it worth it to go to all the trouble of Bobby's original recipe?
Probably not.
At least not for me, with my limited free time, patience, and attention span.

But I would like to try that caramel apple sauce sometime. :)

The Lazy Cook's Pumpkin Bread Pudding (Click here for Printable Version)
based on this recipe by Bobby Flay

2 mini loaves (2/3 recipe) Healthy Pumpkin Bread
        (This equates to about 5 cups of pumpkin bread cubes)
2 cups vanilla bean ice cream
¾ cup pureed pumpkin
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
  • Scoop two cups of vanilla bean ice cream into saucepan.
  • Set aside and allow to melt.

  • Cut pumpkin bread into ½” cubes.
  • Spread cubes in 9x13” baking dish.
  • Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or so, stirring once, until lightly toasted. (The outside of the cubes should feel dry and crunchy. It’s OK if the inside is still moist.)
  • Set aside to cool.
  • If using pecans, sprinkle them over the bread cubes.

  • While the cubes are cooling, add pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup and bourbon to melted ice cream and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Heat mixture over medium heat until heated through; remove from heat when it starts to bubble.
  • Pour mixture over the bread cubes.
  • Press down with spoon to make sure all the cubes are covered with sauce.

  • Place baking dish inside a larger baking dish (if you have one).
  • Pour hot tap water into the larger baking dish until it comes halfway up the bread pudding dish.
  • (Note: if you don’t have a larger pan, skip this step. The water bath helps the custard cook more evenly, but the pudding won’t be destroyed if you don’t use it–especially since we’re using pre-cooked custard!)
  • Bake at 325° for one hour, until sides are slightly puffed and set, and the center is only slightly jiggly.
  • Cool for 30 minutes.
  • Scoop onto plates and top with additional ice cream–frozen, if desired, or melted into a sauce.
  • Enjoy!
Serves 12.