Pumpkin Bread Pudding; Do It!

It’s that time of year. Do it; make this. Bring it to work or school and people will love you and want to be nice to you!

Pianogirl sent this recipe to me a few years ago. I used it for one of Buster’s Eagle fund raisers, and people went berserk for it, with good reason; it is incredibly delicious. I made it a few months ago, because we really love pumpkin around here, and one of my husband’s friends made a pig of himself and insisted on having the recipe. Enjoy.

Pianogirl’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This makes enough to fill a 9″ square pan…I always double the recipe & put it in a 9X13 pan.
[I don't add the raisins]

2 c. Half & Half
1 15-oz can pureed pumpkin (Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin)
1 c. + 2 T packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t.vanilla
dash salt
10 c. challah bread cut into 1/2″ cubes (about a loaf and a half of
bread needed to double the recipe)
(1/2 c. golden raisins)

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F. Wisk all except bread and raisins in a
large bowl. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in raisins. Let stand 15
minutes. Bake about 40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.

1 1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. whipping cream

Wisk dark brown sugar and unsalted butter in heavy saucepan over medium
heat until butter melts. Wisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves
and sauce is smooth (about 3 minutes.)

I generally stab the bread with a knife many times and then pour the caramel sauce over it to let it sink in, but you can also serve the sauce, as needed, on the side.

Photosource (w/different recipe)

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Jennifer

    Thank you! Will try… looks yummy. On a related note, my grocer told me this week that there’s been a nationwide pumpkin shortage! He said crops were not doing so well this fall and pumpkins may not be as plentiful. I couldn’t find a single can of pumpkin on the shelf. Yikes!

  • kelleyb

    Just reading the recipe caused the button on my slacks to moan and groan…but, maybe if I only had a tiny bite….”pop”! Oh well. :-(

  • Angela

    Elizabeth, I got this recipe from you and made it, and people absolutely raved about it! While it is caloric, as kellyb above mentioned, it is certainly “carb-worthy,” as we say at my house!

  • Joseph

    Challah bread? I’ve never heard of that. Is there something that can be substituted for it?

    [I think Hawaiian bread (that's good stuff!) can also be used, but challah bread should be available at any bakery. My Italian bakery carries it, as does the grocer bakery. Perhaps costco? -admin]

  • Jenny

    There was a pumpkin shortage last year, but this year’s crop is supposed to be fine.

  • Sherry

    If you want it lighter, use fresh pumpkin which is easy to cook and a breeze to freeze. Buy a sugar or blue or cheese or cinderella pumpkin at a patch, depending upon how much you want to have for furture batches of yumminess. Cut it like a cantelope into 1/6ths to 1/8ths (No more than two inches wide at the widest part).

    Leave the seeds, the skin on unless you want to roast the seeds. Put in a baking dish and fill halfway with water. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes. Check, flip. Cook for 10-20 more minutes depending upon thickness of flesh.

    Pour out water and let cool. Cut off rind and innards leaving well cooked flesh. Substitute for canned, much lighter taste. –Couldn’t resist sharing, we love pumpkin everything.

    [Thanks for that - we're big pumpkin fans around here, too and I will try that! -admin]

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  • CV

    I will just say that I once substituted Hawaiian bread in a similar recipe (which called for French bread or Challah bread) and was very disappointed!

    Hawaiian bread is rather sweet to start with, while Challah is simply bread with a very high egg content (which is why it works so well in bread pudding).

    I think using Hawaiian bread in a recipe that already includes other sweeteners like brown sugar or whatever makes for an overly sweet/less optimal bread pudding, FWIW.

    Yes, I’m a bread pudding “expert” and I’ve got the stretchy pants to prove it!

  • jane

    Third time trying to post this …

    My mouth is watering!

    This recipe looks and sounds fantastic! There’s a wonderful Jewish bakery in my neighbourhood where I can buy challah (aka egg bread) … hmm … maybe I’ll substitute this for the pumpkin pie I was going to make for our Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.

  • Sherry

    Now I’m pining for bread pudding so bad and I have to wait until after this baby is born.

  • Elaine S.

    Fear not pumpkin fans! 95 percent of commercially canned pumpkin sold in the U.S. is grown right here in Central Illinois (Libby’s main plant is in Morton, Ill.) and the crops have been excellent this year.

  • KarenT

    Sherry, if fat is the problem, maybe you could lighten it up a little. I lightened it up for potlucks last year and people still loved it.


    For a double batch, I substitute 2 cans evaporated milk plus 1 cup milk for 4 cups half and half. I save the cream for the sauce, which I serve hot, on the side. I generally have sauce left over. You could also use one of the lighter sauces below.

    I can’t get Challah bread in my rural area, and used a 22-oz. bag of Mexican-style Telera rolls for a double recipe using a 29-oz can of pumpkin. I substitute 1/4 cup white sugar for 1/4 cup brown sugar in the (double) recipe above, and mix the spices with it to prevent lumps. I bake the double batch in a 10 x 15 inch pan.

    I’m allergic to golden raisins (sulfites), and leave them out. Sometimes I use 1 1/2 T cinnamon and 1 teaspoon cardamom (seeds freshly crushed with a hammer in a tough bag like the inner lining bag in boxed cold cereal) and maybe some fresh orange zest for a double batch (instead of pumpkin pie spice).


    This is just as rich as the original, but has a distinctive flavor. Substitute at least half white sugar for brown and add a touch of vanilla. Vanilla is a distraction if you make the rich, all-brown sugar original. You can substitute up to half salted butter for unsalted or add a touch of salt. This sauce is not good cold, but you can re-heat it.


    For a less-rich sauce, try an old-fashioned vanilla sauce, similar to the one my grandmother served with steamed carrot, raisin and potato pudding. Double or triple recipe as desired:

    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons flour
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon allspice (optional)
    1 cup cold water
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In saucepan, mix together the sugar, flour, nutmeg, and allspice; blend in cold water. Bring to a simmer and simmer until clear and thickened. Blend in butter and vanilla. Serve warm or hot over hot fritters or serve with bread pudding, steamed pudding or other desserts.


    For a warm-to-cool sauce, you could use custard sauce (lower in sugar than many sweet sauces) or a maple cream sauce:

    ngredients for 100% real maple sauce
    3/4 cup real maple syrup
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 ½ Tbs. Butter
    1/8 tsp. vanilla (optional)

    Ingredients for maple/brown sugar sauce
    1/4 cup real maple syrup
    1/4 cup light brown sugar
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 ½ Tbs. Butter
    1/8 tsp. vanilla (optional)

    Ingredients for maple spice sauce
    ¾ cup maple-flavored syrup
    ½ cup heavy cream
    1 ½ Tbs. Butter
    ½ tsp Pumpkin pie spice or 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. allspice, nutmeg (grated if possible) or cardamom (freshly crushed if possible)

    Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring almost to boil while stirring.
    Sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve over Pumpkin Bread pudding, steamed carrot pudding or gingerbread. Also very good over ice cream, waffles or cheesecake.

  • Mimsy

    Serve sauce AS NEEDED? Just keep pouring! I can’t wait to make this recipe.

  • KarenT

    Oh, and Sherry, about your easy fresh pumpkin directions:

    Cinderella and Cheese pumpkins are related to butternut squash (check the shape of the stem) and the skin may be easier to cut than that of a sugar pumpkin (I don’t know which family the blue ones are in). You could prepare butternut or banana squash the same way. You could probably use some of the harder-skinned New England squashes later in winter, too. But you might need to cut them with a hatchet.

  • http://www.americanphoenix.net American Phoenix

    This looks very much like a Bon Appetit recipe:


    I firmly intend to try it this season. Thanks for the very yummy suggestion!

  • Piano Girl88

    @American Phoenix…I got the recipe from a friend, who well may have gotten it from Bon Appetit!

    To lighten things a bit, I use fat free Half & Half in the recipe. Sometimes I use something similar to Egg Beaters to also make it a little better for you. When I made it the other day, I couldn’t find Challah bread at the store, so I used King’s Hawaiian Bread, and my husband didn’t like it nearly as well. I had no problem with it! :~)

  • Sherry

    Regrettably, it’s not the fat, it’s the sugar. Gestational diabetes rots.

  • KarenT

    Darn it, Sherry. Though I expect the baby will be worth the sacrifice.

    You need fiber. Pumpkins have fiber. Until the baby comes, maybe you could make do with some good culinary pumpkin baked, with a little cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice, and maybe a teaspoon of honey and a dab of butter? And some toasted almonds?

    Some additional pumpkin varieties to expand your repertoire. I think the Australian Butter looks great, but I can only grow C. moschata varieties here.

  • Allen

    This looks yummy! My wife and I will try it soon. We are pumpkin lovers too but for a reason not often mentioned. Pumpkin is a good source of fiber and vitamins for dogs with upset stomachs and loose, well you know. My dogs have all loved the taste of pumpkin which I mix with plain yoghurt over a little kibble is someone is under the weather or taking antibiotics.