- Prep time 40 minutes
- Cook time 50 minutes
- Serves 8
Pumpkin bread pudding is just the tastiest, holiday-friendly, breakfast, dessert, snack—you name it—with which to celebrate the cooler temps. Bread pudding and I go way back, as once I discovered it is essentially baked french toast under another, slightly sexier, name, I was sold. And interestingly enough pumpkin chocolate bread pudding and I also go way back, as one hundred years ago I developed some recipes for a cookbook, and one of them just happened to be the aforementioned flavored pudding.
My first foray into pumpkin bread pudding involved baking up a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chunk bread and using that as the base for the pudding; and although delicious, this time I wanted to prepare something a little less labor-intensive.
Here, a store-bought loaf of rich, buttery brioche or eggy challah is cubed and tossed with a rich custard of eggs and cream. If your bread is stale, that can maximize its ability to absorb the custard and also hold its shape, but I have used fresh bread with no problems. For the custard, I like a mixture of eggs and yolks, as that is what I used when developing my recipe for the aforementioned cookbook—why mess with a good thing? The addition of the pumpkin in the custard is not only wonderfully flavorful, but also adds a moist texture to the finished pudding.
The chocolate, which can be semisweet or bittersweet, is chopped. Usually I call for chips when writing recipes, or their ease of use (no added chopping step and finding them in the grocery store is a no-brainer) but the different-sized pieces and shards of chopped chocolate is so spectacular dispersed when amongst the spiced, pumpkin soaked bread, that I highly recommend using bar chocolate here. If you have one, I just love baking this up in an oval-shaped baking dish, but square also works. A sprinkling of cinnamon sugar pre-bake is nice for a little sparkle and crunch, but is optional. However, the drizzle of heavy cream or scoop of (melty) vanilla ice cream when served is not. If you’ve been making pumpkin chocolate bread pudding for as long as I have, it goes without saying that #wykyk (aka when you know, you know).
Test Kitchen Notes
This bread pudding has a burst of pumpkin flavor, a nice balance of spices, and a lovely texture. The chopped dark chocolate adds depth to the dessert. Personally, I prefer the bread to be stale for a better soak and to hold its shape. Here, I tested with fresh brioche and it turned out fine, but would have been better if it was a few days old Definitely serve with ice cream…and lots of it.
Softened butter, for greasing
large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups
15-ounce can pure pumpkin purée
packed light brown sugar
plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
pure vanilla extract
ground cinnamon, divided
freshly ground nutmeg
brioche or challah, preferably stale, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish with softened butter.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks, cream, milk, and pumpkin purée in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Toss the cubed bread and chocolate in the custard with your hands, or fold with a flexible spatula, until coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- To make the cinnamon sugar, combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl with a fork and sprinkle over the pudding.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the surface looks dry and slightly puffed, and the pudding has an internal temperature 165°F.
- Serve slices warm with a dusting of cinnamon, a drizzle of heavy cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The pudding will keep for 3 days tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.