May 22, 2024

Pumpkin gives bread pudding a seasonal twist

In a season traditionally overflowing with good things to eat, let’s add another entry to the dessert table, shall we?

I’m talking about pumpkin bread pudding. This recipe elevates bread pudding to holiday worthy status.

We’re adding pumpkin puree and warm spices to the bread pudding, then topping it with a velvety caramel pecan praline sauce to create bread pudding that’s bursting with flavors of the season. If pumpkin pie and bread pudding had a baby, it would be this.

Not just for Thanksgiving, this versatile recipe makes any day a special occasion. It can be served either hot, warm or cold, and for dessert, breakfast, brunch or a snack. It’s also perfect to bring to a potluck or make as a gift for friends and neighbors.

As always, my recipes are developed with low cost in mind. In this spirit, I’ve omitted the heavy cream found in most bread pudding recipes and replaced it with a can of evaporated milk to add creamy richness.

Please note we’re using evaporated milk, not sweetened condensed milk. You’ll use part of the can of evaporated milk in the pudding and the remainder in the sauce.

Another part of the frugal appeal of this recipe is that it uses stale bread. Use bread you find on the “oops, we baked too much” rack.

You can use loaves of breads like French, Italian or artisan breads. You also can use baguettes, challah, croissants, doughnuts, even cinnamon rolls.

Bread pudding is a stellar example of simple ingredients coming together to make something greater than the sum of their parts.

As I was making this, my niece suggested that since pumpkin is a vegetable and the pudding is mostly bread and eggs, she should be able to have it for dinner. Of course, I said yes. That’s because I’m the cool auntie.

There will be plenty of time for eating properly. Tomorrow.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Servings: 12


1 (one pound) loaf day-old bread

2 cups half and half or milk

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13 baking dish with cooking spray. Slice or tear the bread into small pieces and place them in the baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the half and half, evaporated milk, pumpkin, sugars, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Carefully pour this custard mixture over the bread pieces in the baking dish.

Lightly press the bread down until it’s completely covered in the custard mixture. Let this rest for about 15 minutes to let the custard soak all the bread pieces. Bake in your preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour or until set and browned. While the bread pudding is baking, make the praline sauce.

Easy Pecan Praline Sauce

Servings: 2 1/2 cups


1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1 tablespoon butter

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup pecans, chopped


In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the brown sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Cook, stirring the sauce until it is syrupy and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Pour over bread pudding to serve.

Patti Diamond

Patti Diamond

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal Meets Fabulous!” at © 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.