I love bread pudding from the basic recipe to all its variations. Bread pudding is like barbecue and chili recipes in that there are an infinite variety of versions. I created this particular version because I wanted to incorporate more colorful veggies with all their myriad health benefits into my diet. Of course, caramel makes everything better, and the spicy warmth of this version complements the sweet potato nicely. If you wish, you could add a touch of whiskey or bourbon to the sauce. You could also add a pinch of ground red chili powder to either the pudding and/or the sauce to create a delicously spicy version. —gr8chefmb
pure vanilla extract
cooked mashed sweet potato [can substitute cooked butternut or acorn squash or pumpkin]
cold butter, cubed
pure vanilla extract
4-1/2 to 5 cups
soft bread cubes, such as brioche (about 9 slices)
Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored, cut into 1/2' dice
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream [optional garnish]
Bread Pudding: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs; add mashed sweet potato and mix well. Combine milk and butter; add to eggs along with sugar, spices and vanilla. Add bread cubes, dried cranberries and diced apples; stir gently.
Pour into a well-greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 in. from edge comes out clean.
Cinnamon Caramel Sauce: While pudding is baking, prepare sauce. Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. ***Use caution as the mixture is extremely hot!***
***Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Use caution as the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.***
Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add cinnamon and whisk until well combined.
Cut pudding into serving-sized pieces and drizzle warm cinnamon caramel sauce over pudding. If desired, top with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.