Ah Thanksgiving in Canada - an excuse to spend days planning and even longer cooking. Well we had turkey yesterday too and for sure Rachel would have been proud with how quickly our "off the cuff" Thanksgiving dinner went together. Since we're a two country couple at least as far as nationality goes, we get to celebrate holidays from both places and yesterday turkey was the order of the day, minus all the trimmings of course. We'll save that for the end of November. Still, we managed to enjoy a rather tasty plateful, never mind that I made turkey stock yesterday afternoon just as an excuse to fill the house with its succulent aroma.
No recipes here people, at least not for the main course. It was just simple food with turkey breast cut into scallops, pounded dusted with spices and coated in flour. Sauteed quickly in butter, topped with crispy fried sage leaves and accompanied by mashed spuds, turkey gravy from that wonderful stock, pan fried brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce of course, it was all perfectly respectable.
Dessert was the pièce de résistance regardless that it took minimal effort to throw together. I happen to love bread pudding and of course pumpkin is synonymous with Thanksgiving. Put the two of them together in a rustic Pumpkin Bread Pudding and you've got a real winner.
While the texture of the finished pudding would have been more delicate had I used brioche or some kind of egg bread, I used crust-less homemade French bread saved in the freezer from last week. Spiced up with the usual pumpkin pie spices and studded with beautiful golden raisins, this pudding screams MORE...I WANT MORE.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce
2-1/2 cups quarter inch bread cubes, crusts removed * See Note
1 cup half and half
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons golden raisins (optional)
Spray four individual ramekins or one 2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Arrange bread cubes on bottom. Add raisins and toss with bread cubes. In a small bowl combine half and half, pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, spices and vanilla and whisk together until well combined. Pour over bread cubes and using a fork, mix together lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour to give bread a chance to soak up the custard.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake casserole for 30 to 40 minutes, or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. To serve – sift powdered sugar over bread pudding and serve with caramel sauce. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Makes 4 servings
Note: - I used French bread for a firmer pudding; however, if you prefer a pudding with a softer, more delicate custard like texture be sure to use brioche or egg bread instead. In any case, it is best made with day old bread.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1-1/4 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large saucepan with a heavy bottom, heat sugar and water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Do not stir! Increase heat to medium high and boil until mixture is a medium amber color, washing down sides of pot from time to time with a pastry brush dipped in water. Watch mixture carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. When of desired color, remove from heat and slowly add cream. Mixture will bubble vigorously so be careful. Return to heat and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Cool and refrigerate until serving. Reheat briefly to a pourable consistency. Download Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce