Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays - Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce

Hi, my name is Carmen. I’m hosting this week’s recipe,

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce

for the blog group, Sweet Melissa Sundays.

What is Sweet Melissa Sundays?
It’s a blog where a group of bakers bake one recipe weekly and post photos and stories on their blog every Sunday. One baker hosts and posts the RECIPE on her blog. Each baker gets a turn to host and post a recipe.

What recipes do we use? The recipes are from a book,
THE SWEET MELISSA BAKING BOOK by Melissa Murphy, which must be purchased before baking with the group.

My reason for selecting this recipe is because I want to get a head start on my Thanksgiving and holiday test baking. I thought this recipe would be ideal for Thanksgiving. It is, however, great to enjoy year round.

The recipe calls for brioche bread.
It was not a simple task. Why? I couldn’t find it in any store! And of course, my mind was set on using brioche. I never used it before and wanted to see what results it would produce. I found a place called Witherspoon Bread Company, located in Princeton, New Jersey. They didn’t have it on hand, but were willing to bake it for me. I placed my order. When I came back two days later, I was pleased to see how beautiful it looked. So, a shout out to Witherspoon Bread Company for coming through for me!

A great substitute for brioche bread is Challah Bread.
I have made this bread pudding several times and now use Challah bread instead because it doesn’t compromise the original recipe. I baked this for others and received rave reviews. The Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce is ‘eyes-rolling to the heavens’ good! ;)

So…let’s bake!

This blog post shows an adapted version of the original recipe.


CHALLAH BREAD: Brioche bread, if not available, substitute with Challah Bread.

VANILLA BEAN PASTE: Since there is no guarantee of fresh vanilla bean pods every time, I use Vanilla Bean Paste by Nielsen-Massey. It comes in a 4 fl oz bottle. It is available at Williams-Sonoma.

Instead of using cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger and whole cloves, I substituted using the following:
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

CARAMEL SAUCE: Add 1 tablespoon light corn syrup to sugar and water mixture. This prevents sugar from seizing.

1. Melt about 4 tablespoons butter.
2. Brush melted butter on bread pudding.
3. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the bread pudding.

• Food ingredients – place all on counter.
• Baking items –place on counter (measuring cups, measuring spoons, spatulas, pot holders, two saucepans, knife, cutting board, aluminum foil, Wisk, strainer, mixing bowls, spoons).
• Pastry brush - used to coat inside pan and top of bread pudding with butter.
• Cookie sheet – used to toast bread.
• Pan - Two quart size for bread pudding.
• Roasting pan – used for a Bain-marie for the bread pudding.
• Wire rack – used to cool bread pudding.
• Plastic wrap – used to cover baked and cooled bread pudding. Store in refrigerator.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce
Adapted from the book THE SWEET MELISSA BAKING BOOK-by Melissa Murphy
(pages 171-173, and 197)


1 loaf of Brioche or Challah (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons ground pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
5 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin filling)

(Page 197: To make fresh pumpkin puree, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Halve and seed a medium sugar pumpkin (5 to 6 pounds). Roast the halves cut side down on the baking sheet for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove to a wire rack to cool. When cool, scrape the pulp away from the skin and puree in a food processor. Makes about 2 cups.)

4 tablespoons melted butter (or less)

3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup dark rum
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream

Position a rack in the center of your oven.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish.

1. Cut the brioche (or Challah) into 1-inch pieces.
Lay them on a cookie sheet in an even layer and lightly toast them in the oven to dry, about 10 minutes.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, ground pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and heat to scalding, or until the cream is steaming and tiny bubbles have formed along the edges. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and cover with aluminum foil. Let steep for at least 20 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt and pumpkin puree until very smooth.

4. When the cream mixture has steeped, reheat the cream over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Temper the cream mixture into the egg mixture, pouring it little by little and whisking all the while.

5. Place the toasted brioche or Challah in the prepared pan. Strain the custard over the bread and press down lightly with your hands so that all bread is soaking. Let soak for 20 minutes.

6. FOR CRUNCHY TOPPING-BRUSH BREAD WITH BUTTER: Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small bowl in microwave. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the bread with the melted butter.

7. FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the bread pudding.

8. Place the baking dish inside a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set. It will poof slightly when ready. Remove to a wire rack to cool to warm before serving.

1. In a microwave on high, heat the rum and raisins for 30 seconds.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream to scalding; do not boil.

3. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the sugar, water and 1 teaspoon light corn syrup and heat until amber in color (like clover honey). Stir gently.

(Please be careful when caramelizing sugar-no kids in the room. Hot sugar is a very bad burn.)

Remove from the heat and quickly stir in a little of the hot heavy cream to stop the cooking. Add the remaining heavy cream, stirring until smooth, and then sir in the rum and raisins.

Serve warm from the baking dish with the caramel-rum raisin sauce. The bread pudding keeps tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Warm before serving. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Warm and stir before serving.

PRO TIP: When making bread puddings, dry bread is best. The less moisture or water that is present in the loaf, the more room there is for the custard to soak into. This results in a bread pudding that is creamy and custardy, not soggy.

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

Below is a PHOTO TUTORIAL of baking the Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce:


Mis en Place: Have all ingredients ready before baking.

Heat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

Butter the baking dish.

Cut the bread in cubes. Toast in oven 10 minutes.

Combine milk, heavy cream, vanilla, and spices. Heat to scalding. Do not boil.

Remove from heat. Cover with aluminum foil. Steep for 20 minutes.

Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, salt and pumpkin puree until smooth.

Reheat the cream over medium heat. Do not boil.

Temper cream mixture into the pumpkin & egg mixture, a little at a time.

Place toasted bread in prepared pan.

Strain custard.

Pour strained custard over bread.
Press down lightly so all the bread is soaked. Soak 20 minutes.
Melt butter and brush over top of bread.

Sprinkle cinnamon & sugar mixture on bread.

Place baking dish (filled with bread pudding) inside a roasting pan.

Fill with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.


In a microwave, heat rum and raisins for 30 seconds.

In a saucepan, heat the cream to scalding; do not boil.

In a saucepan over high heat, combine sugar, water, and 1 teaspoon light corn syrup.
Stir gently and heat until amber in color.

Remove saucepan from heat and quickly stir in a little of the hot heavy cream to stop the cooking.
Add remaining heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
Stir in rum and raisins.

Serve warm bread from the baking dish with the Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce.

Stop by and check out the Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce blog posts by the Sweet Melissa Sunday Bakers!

1. Lorelei of Mermaid Sweets
2. Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
3. Wendy of Pink Stripes
4. Katie of Katiecakes
5. Michelle of Flourchild
6. Jaime of Good Eats and Sweet Treats
7. Andrea of Nummy Kitchen
8. Melissa of Cheese Wine and Chocolate
9. Karen of Karen’s Cookies Cakes & More
10. Eliana of A Chica Bakes
11. Melissa of Lulu the Baker
12. Margo of Effort to Deliciousness
13. Stephanie of Ice Cream Before Dinner
14. Joy of Hot Oven, Warm Heart
15. JoVonn of The Givens Chronicles
16. Hanaa of Hanaa’s Kitchen
17. Christine of Christine Cooks
18. Debbie of Every Day Blessings of The Five Dee’s
19. Holly of Phe/mom/enon
20. Candace of Candy Girl
21. Kaitlin of Kait’s Plate
22. Shandy of Pastry Heaven by Shandy
23. Jeanette of TheWhimsical Cupcake
24. Donna of L’Amour de Tarte
25. Jennifer of Maple N’ Cornbread
26. Rosy of Rosy Lips and Lavender
27. Spike of Spike Bakes
28. Jessica of My Baking Heart
29. Nina of Nina’s Cupcakes
30. Leslie of Lethally Delicious
31. Julie of A Little Bit of Everything
32. Patty of Birding Blossoms and Baking
33. Lara of The Lab
34. Nicole of Sweet Tooth
35. Mara of Love Your Mother
36. Chaya of Sweet & Savory
37. Carmen of Baking is My Zen
38. Tess of Cookin’ Chemist
39. Ruby of I Dream of Baking
40. Dawn of Growing Up (and Having Fun) After 40
41. Ellen of Blue Tree Green Heart
42. Debbie of Cafe Chibita
43. Rebecca of Beurrista
44. Gloria of The Ginger Snap Girl
45. Tracey of Made by Tray Tray
46. Tiffany of A Spoonful and a Heap
47. Rebecca of Indecisive Baker
48. Kelly of Sweetgrass Sensibilities
49. Jennifer of The Rookie Baker

To view PHOTOS of Sweet Melissa Patisserie locations and the recipe exactly as written in Melissa’s book:
Go to my blog post called “A Visit to Sweet Melissa Patisserie~Brooklyn, NY.”

Click HERE.

Peace in baking,

Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul


Flourchild said...

Wow Carmen your post is awesome! I love all the pictures! Im so impressed the effort you went to find that bread. And then the bakery made it specially for you! I would definitley give that bakery my business!
Your pudding look incredible and Im sure it would be a great addition to your Thangsgiving table. I enjoyed baking with you this week, thanks for being the hostess with the mostest!!:)

Julie said...

Thanks for hosting this week. Great recipe. Fabulous post. Love all the detail!!! Your sauce looks amazing. The color is beautiful.

Leslie said...

What a fabulous post! So detailed and so much great information. I didn't make the pumpkin bread pudding (sorry!) but did a rewind. Thanks for hosting this week!

Sherry G said...

That was probably one of the nicest posts I ever seen! As I began reading I grew nervous that I would never be able to make a bread pudding like that. But, your step by step tutorial was AWESOME! It definitely gave me confidence that I could create something like that. Thanks!

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Candy said...

Impressive post! I appreciate all of the work you put into it.

I'm getting ready to pull out my bread pudding and can't wait to try it to see how it compares to the recipe I currently use.

Thanks for hosting this week!

Unknown said...

Great post Carmen! Sorry I wasn't able to make the bread pudding this week but I'm hoping I can give it a try eventually when I can share with some of the bread pudding lovers in my family :) Your pudding looks fabulous and I love all of the effort you put into such a detailed post!

sweetlife said...

great post, i love all the pictures..loving the caramel rum raisin suace


Tessa said...

Your post is awesome! I wasn't able to bake along with you this week, but I'll definitely have to keep your suggestions in mind. After looking at your pictures, I think I may have to put this one on the "to bake" list :-)

rebecca @ beurrista said...

WOW!!! Carmen, that is quite the tutorial. Fantastic presentation of everything! I'll have to look into vanilla bean paste- I had one pod leftover from October- bought in California- Cost Plus World Market, would you believe it, and brought back to NJ.

Erica said...

Great post!!Love the pictures and the bread pudding sounds amazing....Love the caramel sauce...Wow!!!

Mary Bergfeld said...

This is a spectacular post. Your pudding looks wonderful and your instructions assure that anyone who reads them will be able to make a luscious pudding. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Tiff said...

Your post is amazing! So much detail and so many incredible photographs. I always get so into the baking process I forget to take pictures.
Thanks so much for this pick! It was divine. I loved it!

Gloria - The Ginger Snap Girl said...

Gorgeous photos! All your tips are great...I couldn't bake along this week but am looking forward to making it. It looks amazing! Excellent job on the post!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Just jumping back in to thank you for visiting my blog. Come often, stay late :-). I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

Carmen, what a great post and a great pick for SMS! I absolutely loved this dessert and think it's one of my new favorites. I always look forward to seeing your gorgeous photos and this time was no exception :)

Thank you so much for hosting and for such a wonderful pick and sharing such amazing photos of your dessert and your trip to the Sweet Melissa bakeries, what fun!

Chef Dennis Littley said...

wow....what an incredible detailed, and the photos are really good!! You made me want to try and make it! I think the secret to a really good bread pudding is the custard and the bread used, you seemed to have covered both of these very well!!




Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)