Wednesday, November 4, 2009

thanksgiving dessert idea...

i don't know if this will compare to christines healthful flaxseed muffins.

caramelized pumpkin & armagnac bread pudding

8 cups of 1/2 cubed bread (such as brioche or challah or other soft enriched bread) or pound cake or gingerbread.
1 1/2 cups chopped prunes… hmm…. I don’t like prunes… dates maybe?
1/4 cup Armagnac, cognac or brandy

pumpkin custard:
5 cups half & half
5 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling on top

candied walnuts:
1 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream for garnish, whipped to stiff peaks

in a bowl add the armagnac to the dates and allow them to macerate for at least 30 minutes, but as long as overnight.
to prepare the pudding, mix together the half & half, eggs, yolks, pumpkin, salt, sugars, spices and vanilla,
using a hand held blender or carefully with a whisk. Set aside.

layer half the bread cubes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and then the prunes
top with the remaining bread cubes and then pour the pumpkin custard over them. you may not fit all of the custard in at once, but when the bread absorbs some of it, you can add the rest.
gently press the bread down into the custard to make sure they are all soaking it up. let it sit for about 30 minutes to really absorb the custard thoroughly.

when you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. place the baking dish in a larger pan, lined with a kitchen towel. add HOT water to the larger dish to create a water bath. the towel and the water act as insulation and create a more even baking temperature. bake for about 45 minutes or until just set in the center of the pudding.
remove from oven and sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar
turn the oven to broil and return the pan to the oven, watch very closely … just until the sugar is melted and is caramelized. If you have a chefs torch you can achieve the same effect with your torch

to make the candied walnuts:
turn the oven to 350. In a bowl combine the nuts, maple, salt and spices. spread the coated nuts onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat. bake for about 10-15 minutes or until nicely toasted and golden brown. be careful not to over bake or they will turn bitter.

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