Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

A little over a year ago, after being born 15 weeks premature and spending almost 100 days in the NICU, my son and daughter finally came home. I was scheduled to return work part-time about 2 months after we brought them home, but about 2 weeks before my return to work date I was laid off during a corporate restructuring. Since I was very, very unhappy with the thought of leaving Charlie and Lily in someone else's care, I wasn't too upset about suddenly being unemployed and taking on the permanent role of stay-at-home mom. However, suddenly going from two incomes to one is hard to adjust to, so I became a Pampered Chef consultant in order to earn some extra money. I really love selling Pampered Chef! I've met some great people, I have fun doing cooking shows, and I get to try lots and lots of great new recipes.

This recipe for pumpkin bread pudding was one a I did at a show last month. I always try out new recipes in my own kitchen before demonstrating them at a show, so I whipped up this pudding during the babies' nap time one afternoon. This is fantastic! So comforting - totally perfect for a chilly fall evening. Plus, it's incredibly easy and quick to make. It was a hit at my cooking show and is sure to go over well anywhere you choose to serve it!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 loaf (16 ounces) raisin bread
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 can(15 ounces) solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
Vanilla frozen yogurt or thawed, frozen fat-free whipped topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray Oval Baker with nonstick cooking spray. Slice bread into 1-inch cubes; set aside.

Pour evaporated milk into small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 3 minutes or until hot. In large bowl, whisk pumpkin, 1/2 cup of the sugar, eggs, spice blend and orange zest until smooth. Gradually whisk hot milk into pumpkin mixture.

Place half of the bread cubes over bottom of baker; pour half of the pumpkin mixture over bread. Top with remaining bread cubes and remaining pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle pecans evenly over bread. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 25-30 minutes or until set. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve with frozen yogurt or whipped topping, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf

One of my top favorite treats is most definitely pumpkin chocolate chip bread. It is just so, so delicious. A few weeks ago I got a craving and decided to make a few loaves, however I was out of the yogurt I needed to make my favorite chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe. Then I remembered this recipe for Chocolate & Butterscotch Pumpkin Loaf I found on Jessica's blog and decided to give it a try. The recipe originally comes from the Baked - New Frontiers in Baking cookbook. I've been seeing recipes from the book popping up in many other food blogs, so I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.

I modified the recipe a little since I didn't have any butterscotch chips in the house. Instead, I just replaced them with more chocolate chips. The recipe calls for dark chocolate chips, but I only had semi-sweet, plus I'm not really a dark chocolate fan. I was a bit skeptical of the addition of water, since I've never baked a quick bread that required water. I was tempted to leave it out, but am glad I didn't because the bread baked up perfectly the way it was. And how was it? Pretty darn delicious! This recipe is thisclose to being as good as my favorite, although it's a lot more heavy on calories and fat than my other. But it was GOOD. My brother-in-law happened to stop by after I finished baking the loaves, so I sent one home with him to enjoy with his girlfriend Bec. He texted me around dinner time to let me know that he'd already finished 1/3 loaf himself. As for the other loaf, I happily polished that one off myself in less than 3 days. I'd like to say that I shared it with Joe, Charlie and Lily, but that would be a lie.

Chocolate & Butterscotch Pumpkin Loaf

Yields: 2 loaves

3-1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 c vegetable oil
3 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 c room-temperature water
1 c dark chocolate chips (I used 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 c butterscotch chips (I ommitted)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9″x5″x3″ loaf pans, dust them with flour and knock out the excess flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and oil until combined. Add the sugar and whisk again. Whisk the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Add the water and whisk until combined. With a rubber spatula, stir in the butterscotch and chocolate chips.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, but do not overmix. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Gently knock the bottom of the pans against the countertop to even out the batter. Use the spatula to smooth the tops.

Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Invert the loaves onto wire racks and cool completely before serving. The loaves will keep for 3 days, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature.