As a food blogger, I appreciate that we like to get ahead of a trend. We live our lives 3 months in advance: Christmas cookies in late September, patriotic offerings in April, the latest roasted turkey might even show up in August in preparation for Thanksgiving. When people start pinning pumpkin recipes to Pinterest in early August, it’s hard not to go all in with pumpkin. After all, we want to meet our readers’ needs. If Target can run Christmas ads in early September, why shouldn’t food bloggers post Halloween treats in August?
While I can’t speak for others, I will tell you why I don’t. I blog what we eat. And when it’s humid and 95F outside, we are not eating pumpkin treats. Ever. The only exception to this would be if I were working for a client who wanted fall recipes in summer so they could have new content in advance of the season. Otherwise, I’ll show you guys what I’m baking and cooking within just a day or two of when I’m actually baking or cooking it. Sometimes even the same day. You might not find
a ton of any new pumpkin recipes from me in August, but fortunately, that’s what archives are for. Search “pumpkin” here, and you’ll find plenty to keep you busy until I come up with new pumpkin items this season.
I am not immune to the lure of fall. Fall is my favorite, and when I’m hot and sticky and sad in July and August, trust me when I say I’m eagerly awaiting fall when I can wear my purple flannel bathrobe in the mornings and drink coffee on the porch. When I can wrap myself in my soft, gray hooded sweater and wear my quilted, furry slippers all day long. So when there was a chill in the air yesterday morning, I thawed out some fairy tale pumpkin puree I made last year and got to work. I will admit that, by the time I was ready to enjoy my pumpkin butterscotch angel food pudding it was hot outside again, but at least I can now tell that fall is on the way if not fully yet here in NC.
Pumpkin Butterscotch Angel Food Pudding
Using angel food cake rather than bread in a bread pudding makes for a very delicate dessert. I was a bit concerned that the pudding would be too soft, but it worked out beautifully. The resulting pudding has all the fall flavor you could want in a very light baked custard. Feel free to bake your own angel food cake if you want to. I used one I purchased at the local grocery store, and it worked very well.
Here’s a long pin for you, too!
The butterscotch pecans are fantastic as an accompaniment to this pudding or just by themselves. The original recipe is by Elizabeth LaBau of Sugar Hero for About.com, and you can find it here. I did make several changes to her base recipe which you'll see when you compare the two.
- 2/3 to 3/4 of a store-bought angel food cake , cubed
- 3 oz salted butter (I used Kerry Gold)
- 4.5 oz dark brown sugar
- 4 oz pumpkin puree (canned or homemade. If it's very loose, strain out some of the liquid until it is the consistency of apple butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (increase slightly if you aren't using salted butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (store bought or homemade is fine)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- very hot-to-boiling water for the water bath (about 1 1/2 quarts or so)
- 2 oz unsalted butter
- 5 oz dark brown sugar
- 1 oz dark corn syrup (you may sub light)
- 1 oz heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons mild molasses (I use Grandma's)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (you may cut back to 1/2 teaspoon, but salt is a prominent part of the butterscotch flavor profile, so please don't use less than 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 6 oz pecan halves , toasted (or pieces)
Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F.
Spread out the cubed angel food cake on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, tossing the cubes every few minutes, until golden.
If you have time, let the cubes sit out for several hours or overnight until they are stale and hard. If not, just keep going.
Set the cake cubes aside.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter.
Add the dark brown sugar and stir the butter and brown sugar together until bubbling and starting to increase in volume, about 3 minutes. The mixture will start out looking separated but will come together, so worry not.
Add the pumpkin puree, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Cook and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and add the 2 cups of milk.
Pour about 1/2-3/4 cup of the milk mixture in with the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour the eggs back into the custard and whisk until smooth. Strain into a large bowl.
Add the cake cubes into the custard mixture. If the cubes are stale, it will take about 20 minutes to soften. If not, it will take much less time. When finished, most of the custard will have been absorbed by the cake.
Pack the custard-soaked cake into 4 buttered 1-cup ramekins or ring molds and pour in any additional custard evenly among the four. If using ring molds, line with parchment strips and wrap the bottoms with foil to prevent leaks.
Place on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Carefully pour in the hot water into the pan to a depth of about 1/2". Carefully slide the oven rack into place and bake for about 30 minutes or until a knife stuck in the center of a pudding comes out clean.
Turn off the oven, crack open the oven door and allow the puddings to sit an additional 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the puddings from the pan (leave the pan to deal with once the oven is cool and the water won't burn you if it sloshes) and let cool on a wire rack.
Serve barely warm garnished with some chopped butterscotch pecans and some whipped cream. You can also chill them and reheat a bit when ready to serve.
Line a half sheet pan or cookie sheet with Silpat or non-stick foil.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook all the ingredients except the pecans together, stirring to begin with and then backing off once the butter is completely melted.
Cook until the mixture reaches 280F on a candy thermometer.
Immediately stir in the pecans and then spread out on the prepared pan as well as you can (this stuff is pretty thick and bumpy with pecans). Allow to cool and harden completely.
Store in an air-tight container. If you can steal some dessicant packs from some of your vitamin bottles that would be ideal. Throw them in with the candy to keep it from getting sticky and gummy.
If it’s still hot where you live, you are under no obligation to make this pudding now. But do save it, because it makes a nice, light ending to a fall meal. Using angel food cake lightens up the texture of the dessert, making it more welcome at the end of a large meal than heartier bread pudding.
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. I appreciate it.
Happy fall, y’all! What’s your favorite dish, sweet or savory, using pumpkin?