Monday, November 24, 2008

Orange ginger custard sauce tops pumpkin bread pudding

Pumpkin bread puddings seem to be popping up everywhere, and just in time for holiday feasting. Of course, we’ll feature the usual array of pies and holiday cookies this Thanksgiving. And along with the ‘experimental stuffing’ in the turkey, we’ll add a new dessert. Perhaps a bread pudding? You can bet on it.

This pudding is rich with challah or egg bread, and is topped with a fragrant custard sauce flavored with fresh orange and ginger. The recipe was suggested by Marlene of suburban Phoenix. Move over pumpkin pie!


9 cups challah or other egg bread, torn into chunks (about 1 lb.)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
One 16-ounce can pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Orange ginger custard sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Put bread in large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together cream, pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar and all spices. Pour over bread and stir to blend, pushing bread down into mixture. Transfer to prepared dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. At this point, you can refrigerate for up to 72 hours.
Bring to room temperature before continuing. Bake pudding until puffed and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve individual portions in a pool of custard sauce, or drizzle sauce over the top. Variation: Sprinkle pudding with about 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts before baking to send it over the top!

Orange Ginger Custard Sauce:
3 cups whole milk
Zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 teaspoons. orange liqueur or orange extract

In medium pan, heat milk, orange zest, and ginger over medium high heat until milk begins to form bubbles around sides of pan. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain zest and ginger out of milk, returning milk to the pan. Wisk in sugar, cornstarch, and egg yolks and, over medium heat, whisk until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and liqueur. Transfer to glass bowl, let cool slightly and press plastic wrap directly against surface to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. At this point, you may refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 1 month. When ready to serve, rewhisk sauce and serve cold or warm. Makes about 3 cups.
You may also serve this gingery smooth custard sauce with apple cake, gingerbread, spice cake or this bread pudding.
(Recipe from The Diva's Famous Do-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - from Happy Holidays from the Diva of Do-Ahead, Diane Phillips)

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