Even by New Orleans standards, this is no ordinary bread pudding. Rich with the fall flavors of pumpkin and pecan, this version of bread pudding is best served not scooped into bowls, but sliced like a cake and elegantly presented on plates.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 cups half and half
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- One 16-oz. can solid-pack canned pumpkin (the fresh jack-o’-lantern pumpkins won’t work)
- 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 loaf stale French bread, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- 1 cup pecan pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Whisk the sugar, whole eggs and yolks, half and-half, cream, and vanilla in a large bowl to make a smooth custard. Combine the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ½ cup of the custard mixture in another bowl.
2. Generously grease the insides of two 10-inch cake pans with the butter. Line the perimeters of each pan with the smallest slices of bread, then cover the bottom of each with an overlapping bread layer. Pour one-sixth of the custard mixture over the bread to soak it. Spread one-fourth of the pumpkin over the bread in each pan, then sprinkle about one-fourth of the pecans over the pumpkin. Repeat the process in the same order, ending with a layer of bread, pecans, and a final soaking with the custard.
3. Bake for about 1½ hours. The pudding will rise a great deal, but it will fall again when you take it out of the oven. Remove and cool. Cut into pie-style slices and serve either warm or cold.