Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is always a good choice when you’re in need of a comforting dessert. The custard-based pudding is rich in texture and flavor – and the fact that it can be served warm always seems to add another layer of indulgence to each serving. There is no time of year that …

The post Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding appeared first on Baking Bites.

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is always a good choice when you’re in need of a comforting dessert. The custard-based pudding is rich in texture and flavor – and the fact that it can be served warm always seems to add another layer of indulgence to each serving. There is no time of year that calls for comfort food more than the fall and winter holiday seasons, and that means that this Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding is a perfect option for dessert during that time of year.

The bread pudding is made with pumpkin puree and a generous amount of pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice, or pumpkin pie spice, is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger that is typically included in pumpkin pies and other pumpkin desserts. You have undoubtedly had it in a pumpkin spice latte, even if you weren’t familiar with the individual spices that went into the mix in the first place! The spices add a delicious warmth to the natural sweetness of pumpkin puree, which is further enhanced in this dessert with brown sugar and vanilla.

Bread puddings are usually soft and custardy, without much texture of their own. In this recipe, I add in a generous amount of toasted pecans. The flavor of the pecans works beautifully with the pumpkin spice elements, as well as adding a nice crunch to each serving of bread pudding. Toasted pecans will give you the best results in this recipe, as they will hold up to the custard without loosing their texture. Feel free to use pecans that are both roasted and salted if you like a little extra salty-sweetness in your desserts (I do!). I like to toss a few extra on top for garnish, to hint at the flavors that are inside the bread pudding.

This recipe makes a generous batch of bread pudding and you might not have a large enough gathering to serve it all at once. Fortunately, bread pudding keeps very well and the leftovers are just as delicious as the freshly baked dessert. If you do have leftovers, store them in the fridge. You can serve them cold or reheat individual portions in the microwave for a few minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding
2 3/4 cups milk (pref. whole)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (1-15 oz can)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
9-10 cups cubed bread (pref. white bread or brioche)
1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pecans
topping: 2 tbsp sugar + 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until very smooth.
Place cubed bread in a large bowl, and pour pumpkin mixture over the top. Use a spatula to gently fold the bread cubes until they are well coated. Allow bread mixture to stand for 20 minutes to soak up the custard mixture.
Pour bread custard mixture into prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the bread pudding.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the pudding springs back when lightly pressed and a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Leftovers should be cooled completely and stored in the refrigerator.

Serves 10-12

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Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Honey Creme Brulee

Creme brulees never go out of style in my book – especially when you’re making them at home so that you can put a twist on this very classic dessert! This Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee recipe is a new favorite of mine. The silky smooth custard is sweetened with honey and …

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Honey Creme Brulee

Creme brulees never go out of style in my book – especially when you’re making them at home so that you can put a twist on this very classic dessert! This Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee recipe is a new favorite of mine. The silky smooth custard is sweetened with honey and vanilla bean, giving it a rich sweetness along with a wonderful floral vanilla flavor. The vanilla bean really pairs beautifully with the honey, making this dessert both delicious and decadent!

The custard is easy to make and uses heavy cream and whole milk as a base. The fat in the dairy is what makes this custard silky smooth and velvety, so this is one dessert where you don’t want to substitute lower fat dairy if you want to get the best possible results. The recipe starts by infusing the cream and milk mixture with vanilla bean. If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, you can use vanilla extract and stir it into the milk and egg mixture before dividing it into ramekins.

The custard is sweetened with both honey and sugar. Most of the flavor comes from the honey, and each honey has its own unique flavor, so be sure to choose a honey that you like. I like wildflower, orange and acacia for this recipe, but just give your honey a taste before you incorporate it into the custard to be on the safe side.

Honey Creme Brulee

Bake your custards in a water bath, allow them to cool and then chill them before bruleeing the tops. I find that the best way to serve these is when the caramel layer on top is still slightly warm and the custard is cold, an effect that I get by using a kitchen torch to brulee the custard just before serving. For a perfect crust, try to use superfine sugar to create a thick and even layer of sugar on the cold custard, then use the torch in small circles to caramelize it without burning. If you’re not serving all the custards at once, store the extras for up to 2 days in the fridge and brulee just before indulging.

Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
hot water, for water bath
sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 325F. Arrange six 6-oz ramekins in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Split vanilla bean and use the back of a knife or a spoon to scrape out the vanilla bean seeds. Add vanilla bean seeds and pod to heavy cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pod, then bring back to a simmer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Whisking constantly, very slowly stream the hot milk mixture in to temper the eggs. Strain mixture into a large measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout.
Divide mixture evenly into prepared ramekins. Place pan onto a rack in the oven, and pour boiling water into the pan around the ramekins so that water comes two thirds up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until custards are set and have only a slight jiggle to them. A very sharp knife inserted into the center of a custard should come out clean.
Carefully remove tray from oven and allow custards to cool in the water bath. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating, then cover with plastic wrap and chill completely before adding topping.
Custards can be prepared up to two days in advance.

For topping: Add about a tablespoon of sugar onto the top of each custard and spread into an even layer. Using a kitchen torch and moving it slowly, but constantly, caramelize the topping. Topping can also be caramelized under the broiler.
Allow caramel to set for a minute before serving.

Serves 6

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