Sunday, August 22, 2010

RECIPE: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Brown Sugar Sauce

It's coming to that time of the year again when the lovely round, green pumpkins and squash in the fields are starting to turn the most marvelous oranges and golds! It's also the time of  year when people write Henrietta and ask for her favorite recipes for what is surely her favorite vegetable and she is only happy to oblige. She dedicated an entire chapter to them in her cookbook and this is one of them!

Along with all the traditional soups, brews, pies and tarts, she likes to encourage friends to explore a few lesser known things to do with pumpkin and squash - and bread pudding is a wonderful way to start. This delicious and satisfying treat is a perfect way to warm up on a cold autumn day and a very simple thing to make.

Ingredients you will need for the pudding:
  • One cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin*
  • One half a cup of good, rich brown sugar
  • Two chicken eggs
  • One teaspoon of  vanilla extract
  • One half of a teaspoon of dried, ground ginger
  • One quarter a teaspoon of dried ground cinnamon
  • One eighth a teaspoon of dried ground cloves (optional)
  • One half a cup of raisins
  • One can evaporated skim milk
  • One third of a cup of chopped pecans  (see a Henrietta Hint below on this)
  • Half a loaf of fresh raisin bread
* Canned pumpkin works just fine for this recipe, but do be careful it is pure pumpkin you buy and not pumpkin pie filling!

Instructions for the pudding:
  1. The first thing to do is to preheat your oven to a toasty four hundred degrees. While it's warming up, cut your raisin bread up into small, bite-sized cubes, grease a nine inch pie plate lightly and then arrange the bread cubes on the bottom. Set it all aside and start mucking about with your pumpkin. 
  2.  In a not too big but bot too small mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and ginger just until mixed. Then gently stir in milk and pour the entire mixture over the bread cubes, coating it with pumpkin mixture. 
  3. Take your pecans and sprinkle them with abandon over the top. If you sneak a few for yourself, no one will be the wiser.
  4. Put the entire glorious concoction into your preheated oven and leave it be for twenty five to thirty minutes or until a knife poked into the middle comes out clean.
I always serve this warm, cut into wedges and with some lovely cream over top. To really make it rich, you can also drizzle a delightful warm brown sugar sauce over the top (recipe below), though I'd reduce the sugar a little in the pudding if that were he case.

Ingredients you will need for the brown sugar sauce:
  • One quarter of a cup of butter (and do use butter, not margarine for this sauce)
  • Three tablespoons of flour
  • Two thirds of a cup of packed brown sugar
  • One cup of cold milk
  • One cup of a lovely brandy (this is optional but does give a very nice taste)
  • One quarter of a teaspoon if vanilla extract
Instructions for the brown sugar sauce:

  1. Take out your favorite small saucepan and over a medium heat, gently melt the butter. Take i off the heat once ready and set it aside.
  2. Take out your favorite medium-sized bowl and into it sift together the flour and sugar.
  3. Take out your favorite whisk and slowly add the sifted ingredients into your favorite small saucepan of melted butter until the mixture is moist and happy.
  4. Without too much of a fuss, stir in cold milk until the sauce is smooth and then return your favorite small saucepan to the medium heat.
  5. Cook until thickened and smooth (about five minutes) but mind that your pay close attention to the mixture, using your favorite whisk frequently to ensure there is no burning!  
  6. When the consistency seems agreeable, delicately stir in the brandy and vanilla and remove your favorite saucepan form the heat
Serve right away over your Pumpkin Bread Pudding, or cover it and refrigerate it for up to a week (warm before serving). This is also delicious over coffee cake, apple crisp and ice cream!

HENRIETTA HINT: I always recommend roasting nuts for a richer flavor if you are using raw ones. Simply put them in a mixing bowl with just a drizzle of peanut or vegetable oil and toss until lightly coated. Spread them out on a cookie sheet that has been lined in parchment paper and using a pastry brush, lightly dab them with some soft butter. Roast in a three hundred and fifty degree oven for four and half minutes, then turn them over and roast for four and a half minutes more. Take care not to burn them!

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