Serves a Crowd

Gingered Butternut Bread Pudding with Coconut and Maple

October 25, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves A Crowd
Author Notes

I started the weekend wanting to make a butternut squash bread pudding. My thoughts, leaning in a savory direction, changed course when I got it in my head to use coconut milk instead of cream. From there I entertained adding fresh ginger for warmth, maple for a touch of sweetness and pecans for their fragrant notes -- all to complement the natural nutty goodness of butternut squash. While this was baking, I realized that this could still hold its own on a Thanksgiving menu, perhaps giving candied yams a night off; to be sure, I enjoyed one serving with turkey (a coincidence tonight at my extended family’s Sunday dinner) and a second with vanilla ice cream. Since I intentionally made the pudding only subtly sweet, it worked both ways, you will have to decide if you want it for dinner or dessert. —gingerroot

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe walks a fine line between savory and sweet, and leaves it up to you to decide its fate. As gingerroot mentions, it could be served as a side at Thanksgiving or as dessert with a scoop of ice cream. The roasted butternut squash adds a nice twist to bread pudding, while the candied pecans add just a touch of sweetness and a wonderful crunch. —figgypudding

What You'll Need
  • 1 French baguette, at least one day old
  • For Squash:
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • For Pecans:
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • For Custard:
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (I used Chao Koh brand)
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 5 large eggs
  • Unsalted butter for greasing pan
  1. Slice day old baguette and cut into 1-inch cubes. You should end up with about 8 cups of cubed bread. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Use a traditional Japanese metal ginger grater (oroshigane), or microplane, to grate peeled ginger to a pulpy puree. You should end up with one generous teaspoon of mostly fiber free ginger. (The oroshigane has fine metal teeth that separate the stringy fibrous parts of the ginger from the pulp and juice).
  3. Make Squash: Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, add butternut squash cubes, ginger pulp, brown sugar, butter cubes, and salt. Toss to combine mixture. Spread out in a single layer on foil. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring mixture with a wooden spoon half way through cooking. Remove pan from oven; squash should be fragrant and just tender. Allow squash to cool, and then transfer to a bowl. Turn oven off. (Squash can be made ahead; cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate if preparing hours in advance.)
  4. Make Pecans: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Toast pecans in dry pan, stirring, until fragrant and beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to burn pecans. Add maple syrup, stirring to combine, cook about one minute more. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle pecans with sea salt. Stir to combine. Allow pecans to thoroughly cool (they should harden) and transfer to an airtight container.
  5. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 glass-baking dish. Spread 1/2 of bread cubes in a single layer. Top with 1/2 of roasted butternut. Repeat one more layer of each to use up bread and butternut. Set aside.
  6. Make Custard: In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk, 2% milk, and maple syrup. Split 1/2 vanilla bean and carefully scrape seeds into pan. Stir mixture to combine and slowly heat until warm, but not hot (can put clean finger in liquid without burning).
  7. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Temper eggs by slowly adding 1 cup of warmed milk-maple mixture into eggs, whisking to combine. Slowly whisk egg-milk mixture back into saucepan of warmed milk, and cook for a minute more. Remove from heat. Ladle warm custard over butternut-bread mixture, lightly pressing down on bread to submerge in liquid. Allow mixture to cool slightly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to three hours.
  8. When ready to bake bread pudding, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove bread pudding from refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Top bread pudding with maple pecans and bake for 30-35 minutes until pudding has puffed up and custard is just set. Remove from oven and allow pudding to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy as a slightly sweet side to turkey and all the trimmings, or with vanilla ice cream -- you decide!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lorigoldsby
  • AntoniaJames
  • Oui, Chef
    Oui, Chef
  • nannydeb
  • luvcookbooks

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

29 Reviews

Madhuja November 16, 2012
The flavor combo in this dish is incredible, gingerroot!! What a great recipe! :)
gingerroot November 17, 2012
Thank you, Madhuja! The coconut milk-butternut combo works surprisingly well. I recently made a butternut bread with some of the same flavors and it turned out great!
lorigoldsby March 29, 2012
umm...yeah! usually bread pudding is one of my last dessert choices, but this one speaks to me!
gingerroot March 30, 2012
Thanks, Lori! I like it because it is not too sweet. I hope you enjoy it if you try it.
AntoniaJames March 26, 2012
Mmm, glad to see this one again, especially because I've been making copious amounts of boulangere's Italian Boule, so we have plenty of suitable bread on hand. This is right up our alley . Love the maple + ginger + coconut + pecans combo! ;o)
gingerroot March 29, 2012
Thanks, AJ! Sorry for the belated response, for some reason I'm only seeing your comment now. boulangere's Italian Boule looks amazing. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you give it a try.

Oui, C. November 12, 2010
This sounds totally decadent and delicious! - S
gingerroot November 13, 2010
Thank you. I was thinking the same thing about your cranberry bread pudding, especially with pumpkin spiced creme anglaise! YUM.
nannydeb October 27, 2010
Oh, this sounds like my Sunday brunch with the leftover butternut squash I have. Yum!
gingerroot October 27, 2010
Thanks, nannydeb! I do hope you try it...if you are going the sweet rather than savory route, I think sprinkling each layer of bread and squash with a little cinnamon and sugar would be lovely. It is also fantastic cold...
luvcookbooks October 27, 2010
don't have time to try anything this week but saved this, because visions of sweet butternut recipes were dancing in my head... thanks!!
gingerroot October 27, 2010
Thanks, luvcookbooks. I do hope you try it and would love to know your thoughts when you do. Like I mentioned to nannydeb, if it is a sweet butternut recipe that you are after, a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon over each layer of bread and squash would turn this into a definite dessert.
TiggyBee October 27, 2010
Beautiful gingerroot!!
gingerroot October 27, 2010
Thanks, TiggyBee!!
oatcake October 26, 2010
butternut squash is a favorite - though I hadn't thought of dessert! such an exciting use of squash, so creative...
JoanG October 25, 2010
Ooh, luscious!
gingerroot October 27, 2010
Thanks, JoanG! The coconut milk keeps the bread soft and light and it is equally good cold, the next day (although much more suited that way as dessert).
AntoniaJames October 25, 2010
Outstanding recipe. Love it! ;o)
gingerroot October 26, 2010
Thanks so much, AJ!
cheese1227 October 25, 2010
Great use for squash in a dessert!
gingerroot October 25, 2010
Thanks, cheese1227. While I enjoyed it with turkey, I will admit, my preference was with vanilla ice cream! BTW, in spite of the inherent humidity here, I am determined to make your caramels for Halloween. : )
Sagegreen October 25, 2010
Wonderful flavors!!!
gingerroot October 25, 2010
Thanks, Sagegreen! I love your butternut entries - they are so different but sound equally delicious.
lapadia October 25, 2010
OMGosh...this sounds wonderful!
gingerroot October 25, 2010
Thanks, lapadia!
aargersi October 25, 2010
Wow, this sounds amazing - what a well thought out recipe! Great idea!
gingerroot October 25, 2010
Thanks aargersi! This was definitely a case of having a clear picture of a dish in my mind and hoping with a little TLC it would come out somewhere close to my idea. I like that it works as a side or as a dessert.
adamnsvetcooking October 25, 2010
This sounds yummie! It would make for a great addition on the Thanks Giving table...
gingerroot October 25, 2010
Thanks so much, adamnsvetcooking! There are so many delicious looking butternut recipes here, I think my Thanksgiving menu might have a predominantly squash slant to it this year...