A little bit pumpkin pie, a little bit bread pudding, this delightful custard is plumped up with small cubes of day-old bread and sweet, nutty roasted pumpkin. Be sure to use the pie pumpkins usually available around Halloween and Thanksgiving and day-old bread to soak up all of the silky custard. Served individually in ramekins or custard cups, it’s delicious hot, warm, or even cold with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Yield: 10 to 12 Servings
- 1 medium pie pumpkin, halved horizontally and seeded
- 6 large eggs
- 2-½ cups (595 ml) half-and-half
- 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1 whole day-old white French baguette, cut into ½-inch (13-mm) cubes (about 6 cups / 210 g)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 425° F (220° C). Place the pumpkin, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Roast for 60–75 minutes, until soft and imploded. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skins into a medium bowl and discard the skins. This can be done a day or two ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Reduce oven to 350° F (175° C). In a large bowl, mash 2-1/2 cups (610 g) of the pumpkin flesh with a manual masher (Basic Mashing Tools) until smooth. Add the eggs and half-and-half and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Add the bread cubes and stir to combine. Let set at room temperature, stirring once or twice, for 20 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed most of the custard.
- Butter 10 to 12 (1-cup) custard cups or ramekins liberally with the butter. Ladle equal parts custard and bread into each cup. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until set and golden, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot, warm, or cold (they will store a few days, covered, in the refrigerator) with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.