Monday, November 23, 2015

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Cream Cheese Glaze

Once upon a not so long ago, I invited a few friends to dinner. For some reason, I never seem to have a problem finding people to be testers for new recipes! LOL What can I say? I like to try out new recipes to get everyone's opinions, see if anything needs to be tweaked, etc.
 I was thinking I wanted to do a pumpkin bread pudding, but I needed to up the wow factor a little. A sauce, perhaps? a glaze? Hmm.. So I happened to be working with my friend, Mary, and I told her about my dinner menu plans. I said "OK, which one do you think I should do, a caramel sauce or a cream cheese glaze?" She looked at me like I had two heads and said "Um.. hello.. BOTH!" (as if this was the most obvious answer in the world, duh). So I went with it!!!
 Let me just say that I need to buy a vowel because O. MY. GOD. It's possibly one of the most heavenly desserts I've ever made. It's warm and comforting, and creamy and chewy and crunchy and gooey all at the same time! This is ABSOLUTELY gonna be your new favorite pumpkin dessert. I'll even go so far as to say that this might be competition for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie! There. I said it. I'm not even kidding, it's just that good!
 So thank you, Mary, for suggesting BOTH sauces. LOL That was definitely the wow factor I was looking for! Make this for your next special occasion or holiday dinner and I just bet you'll agree!

For the bread pudding:
2 cups half and half
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 cups 1/2-inch cubes egg bread (about 10-ounces)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

 For the caramel sauce:
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

For the cream cheese glaze:
 4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 tbs milk 

For bread pudding:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes and golden raisins. Transfer mixture to 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle pecans over the top. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake pudding until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. While the pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce and cream cheese glaze.

To prepare caramel sauce:
Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

To prepare the glaze:
Beat cream cheese until very creamy. Beat in powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla. Add 3 tablespoons milk or enough to make it the right drizzling consistency.

After you remove the bread pudding from the oven, let it cool for about 10-15 minutes, then drizzle with caramel sauce and cream cheese glaze. Serve warm.

Obviously, you don't have to do BOTH toppings. You can just do one or the other, but I highly recommend doing both!
Not a fan of nuts and/or raisins? Leave 'em out! 
If you'd like to save a little time, you have a couple options. You can make it up to the point just before you bake it, then cover it and keep it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, then bake it and top it as directed. You can also bake the whole thing as directed, then keep it in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Then pour your topping(s) over it just before you serve. You can heat it up a bit in the oven if you'd like to serve it warm, or just take it out of the fridge in time to serve it at room temperature.

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