pumpkin bread pudding

Granted, it isn't really the season of pumpkins, but I wanted a wintery warm dessert and pumpkin sounded good to me. Besides, my friend Mary* was coming over, and we students always require something bready and comforting and sweet.

*Mary makes gorgeous jewelry! (And if I can take the opportunity for a shout out on this here Interweb, thanks again for the earrings!)

This recipe was pretty simple, as far as incredibly yummy desserts go. It's another "dessert of the month" from Martha -- this time from Oct 2002. Soaking the raisins in bourbon (or good ol' JD whiskey) sounds decadent, but the flavour is really subtle in the final product -- almost disappointingly subtle. Bread pudding doesn't really require ramekins, but individual servings do ensure that everyone gets plenty of that crispy top. In any case, these are definitely showing up on the holiday table next year.

pumpkin bread pudding
makes 6 10-oz ramekins (or enough for an assortment of smaller ramekins and dishes...)

unsalted butter, for buttering ramekins
1 C raisins (sounded like a lot...I used a bit less)
1/3 C bourbon, or whiskey
1/3 C hot water
1 15-0z can of pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 C sugar
1 1/2 C milk
2 teas vanilla
1 teas cinnamon
1 teas ginger
1/4 teas allspice
pinch o' salt
1 loaf of brioche, or challah bread, cut into 3/4-in cubes (Best to leave the bread out for a day to dry so it will soak up the pudding better and help everything keep its shape)

Butter ramekins. Sprinkle each with some brown sugar and set aside on baking sheet. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with bourbon (or whiskey) and hot water. Let soak until nice and plump (20 mins).
Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, spices, and salt. Toss in dry bread cubes and stir gently until evenly coated. Let stand a few minutes. Drain raisins and fold the spiked raisins into the mix. Divide among prepped ramekins. (Press down a bit to fit more in and make level with the top of the dish.)

Bake until custard is set in the center and the top is golden (about 40 mins). If the bread is browning too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. When they're done, remove from oven and let cool a bit. Unmold onto serving plates and sift some confectioners sugar on top.

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