Twist on Tradition

An alternative to pumpkin pie that's still festive for the holidays

Lots of families have food traditions that are important to them this time of year. Whether it is our mom’s stuffing recipe or Grandma’s cookie dough, the recipes themselves are links to our past. They bring back memories of holidays and the people who are near and dear to us. The recipes connect us to our family roots and comfort us as we remember family gatherings.

I love the traditions in our family and also like to “mix it up” a little bit each year with some new foods or preparations. Pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce is just such a recipe—a change from pumpkin pie while still using a food associated with the holidays.

RECIPE: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce


Bread pudding
2 cups half and half
1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 oz egg bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

Caramel sauce
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

Powdered sugar


For bread pudding:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in golden raisins, if using. Transfer mixture to a buttered 9x13-inch baking pan. Let stand for 15 minutes. Bake pumpkin bread pudding until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare caramel sauce:
Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Sift powdered sugar over bread pudding after removing it from the oven. Serve warm with caramel sauce.

Both the bread pudding and caramel sauce can be prepared ahead of time.

Adapted from

Nancy Lynch is a self-taught cook from a family of foodies. She teaches cooking classes at Orange Tree Imports and All Through the House in Stoughton. E-mail your questions, comments or recipe requests to

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