Few things in life get me more frustrated than things going wrong in the kitchen. I don't know if I was distracted, or tired, or if I just had too many dishes going at once, but making this bread pudding left me frazzled. I burned the chocolate in the microwave, my package of bacon was an awful fatty mess that shriveled away to nothing, the crème anglaise curdled, we were out of whiskey that I originally intended to use, I didn't have the can of pumpkin that I thought I had, and I learned that the pan I needed was thrown away.
Alex brought home the pumpkin, I went ahead and salvaged what I could of the bacon, redid the chocolate, and put it out of my mind for a little while. After all, there are way worse things in life than a less than perfect dessert. The next day I served myself a bowl and.. it was surprisingly good! It's not a super sweet dessert, and you've got to like pumpkin, but if the title of the recipe sounds like something you'd enjoy then you probably will. I know I'm not really selling it here, but still. I'm so happy I didn't just scrap it altogether.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Ingredients (For the bread pudding):
2 cups whole milk
1 15oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. all spice
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. amaretto liqueur (optional, or substitute whiskey)
1 large baguette, cubed
4 tbsp. butter, melted, plus extra for buttering the baking dish
Ingredients (For the crème anglaise):
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg yolks, room temperature
Ingredients (For the candied bacon):
1 lb, bacon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Ingredients (For the maple chocolate drizzle):
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Butter a 9" square baking dish. Toss the cubed baguette with the melted butter and arrange in the prepare baking dish. Whisk together the first 10 ingredients for the bread pudding and pour over the buttered baguette cubes, completely submerging them. Allow to soak for 30 minutes before baking in a 350° oven for 30 minutes (just until custard is set).
For the candied bacon, toss the bacon with the brown sugar to coat. Arrange on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, or on a rack over the baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, until crisp.
For the chocolate drizzle, gently melt the chocolate chips either in the microwave or over the stove. Whisk in the warmed heavy cream, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt until smooth.
For the creme anglaise, combine the cream and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Slowly drizzle in about half of the hot cream, whisking continuously, to temper the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until smooth and slightly thickened (about 5 more minutes). Remove from heat immediately and strain if necessary.