Makes 8 Servings
- 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 9 egg yolks
- 15 cups 1/2-inch cubes challah bread, from 2 small loaves
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, pumpkin purée, half of the sugar, and the salt and bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.
- Use a paring knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the pod. Add the bean and the seeds to the pan, along with the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Cover the pan and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
- Return the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, combine the egg yolks with the remaining sugar. Once the mixture in the pot comes to a boil, while whisking the egg yolks constantly, add about 1/3 of the hot mixture to the yolks to warm them. Whisk in the remaining cream mixture. If necessary, strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any egg solids.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Place the cubed bread in a large bowl and pour the cream and egg mixture over the bread. Toss until the bread is coated and transfer to the prepared pan. Allow the mixture to soak for about 30 minutes before placing it in the preheated oven. Bake in a water bath until the custard is set and the top of the pudding is a light golden brown, about 30 minutes.