This is a very decadent dessert. Sometimes when entertaining for family or friends I like to make something that is over the top! I know this looks complicated but really isn’t. Each component can be made days in advance. For a simpler version make the pumpkin bread pudding and caramel sauce. Garnish with whipped cream. Either way your friends will be impressed!
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise, Caramel Sauce, Cranberry Compote and Toasted Pecans
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3 whole eggs
2 cups half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
One 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
10 ounces croissants
Garnish: Creme Anglaise, Caramel Sauce and Cranberry Compote recipes below
Additional Garnish: Pecan pieces that have been toasted at 350F for 3 to 5 minutes
In a small bowl mix dry ingredients together. In a very large second bowl beat eggs with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and pumpkin. Stir until smooth. Add dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. At this point you can refrigerate the pumpkin mixture until you are ready to assemble and bake the bread pudding.
To assemble: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Tear croissants in 1 inch chunks. Scatter croissants in a 9 X 13 inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Slowly pour pumpkin mixture on top of the croissant pieces. Soak croissants for 10 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes. The bread pudding should be set but not dry.
To Serve: Soon a small amount of creme anglaise on a dessert plate. Spoon bread pudding on top of anglaise. Drizzle caramel sauce on pumpkin bread pudding. Garnish with cranberry compote and spiced pecans.
2 cups half and half
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place half and half in a small saucepan. Place sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Do not stir. Set aside. Heat half and half on low just below the boiling point. If the half and half forms a skin remove it with a spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Add 1/4 cup hot half and half to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk. Add 1/2 cup more half and half. Whisk. Add remaining half and half and whisk to thoroughly combine. Pour mixture into a clean medium saucepan.
Heat over medium low heat, stirring the whole time with a wire whisk, until just below the boiling point. 170-175 F. Do not allow mixture to boil or the eggs will scramble. To test, dip a wooden spoon in the mixture. Run your index finger in a straight line along the back of the spoon. If the line remains the anglaise is ready.
Remove from heat and pour through a wire mesh strainer. Use a rubber spatula to push the mixture through the strainer and discard anything remaining in the strainer. Add vanilla. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 2 days in advance and reheated in the microwave to room temperature before serving.
1 and 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
In a small saucepan add brown sugar, butter and whipping cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and stir until sugar melts. Remove from heat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 5 days in advance. Reheat in microwave before serving.
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, mix together cranberries, sugar and water. Over medium heat bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer until cranberries pop. Decrease temperature to low and continue to cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Cool slightly then serve or place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Can be made 5 days in advance. Reheat in microwave to room temperature before serving.
Printed in The Johnson City News on November 26, 2014