Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stuff your pumpkin with bread pudding made with cranberries and raisins

Pumpkins are everywhere these days, including my front porch where three pumpkins sit – my traditional collection, one for each of my three children.

And in the kitchen we’re contemplating how to use this full-of-flavor vegetable in some favorite dishes – pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, and even pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (thanks Risa for this latter incredibly wonderful recipe!).

Today’s pumpkin recipe involves stuffing this colorful round with a delectable mixture of raisin bread, cranberries, and pecans. Then it’s all topped off with a tempting lemon-vanilla sauce that oozes down the pumpkin. I found the recipe on Myrecipes.com where they featured this dish from Southern Living. You can make this dessert either using one large pumpkin, or as individual servings using one-half-pound pumpkins. Either way, you can count on ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ when you bring out this delightful offering that’s perfect for a holiday table.


1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) pumpkin*
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and divided
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 (16-ounce) raisin bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Lemon-Vanilla Sauce (below)

Cut off top of pumpkin, reserving lid with stem. Scoop out pumpkin seeds and pulp, and reserve for another use. Brush inside of pumpkin shell with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Top with lid.
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.
Brush inside of baked pumpkin shell with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
Stir together eggs and next 6 ingredients; spoon pudding mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan.
Bake pumpkin and bread pudding at 350° for 25 minutes. Let pumpkin cool; spoon bread pudding evenly into pumpkin shell. Serve with Lemon-Vanilla Sauce.
*Note: For individual servings, substitute 12 (1/2-pound) pumpkins. Scoop out seeds and pulp; sprinkle each pumpkin shell with 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon sugar, and bake with the bread pudding. (Do not prebake as with the larger pumpkin.) Spoon bread pudding evenly into baked pumpkin shells. Yield: 12 servings.
(Southern Living, October 2002)

Lemon-Vanilla Sauce

1 vanilla bean, split
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Cook vanilla bean, water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth and thickened.
Stir in butter and remaining ingredients, and cook until thoroughly heated. Remove vanilla bean. Yield: 1-2/3 cups.
(Southern Living, October 2002)

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