I can't recall what conversation I was having or with whom, but somehow the topic of bread pudding came up and a little thought bubble of realization popped into in my head: It had been over a year since I'd had bread pudding, and that is a very sad thing. To remedy this travesty, I decided to make a batch with some of my favorite autumn flavors: pumpkin (for so many reasons), maple (nothing beats that warm sweetness!), and bourbon whiskey (liquor in desserts = win). I'm more of a Cognac person when it comes to sipping liquors, but I love a good bourbon tang in my cakes and Jeremy is a huge fan of it any which way, so it worked out well for all involved parties. The rich, creamy, and sweet bread pudding bundt that emerged from the oven seemed to float out on its own towards me as I leaned in closer and closer to take in the delicious smells as I was pulling it out. Then I burnt my forehead a little on the oven and decided to allow it to cool a bit more outside of the oven before attempting to eat it. Once I did, though, it was pure pumpkin heaven. I've eaten it every day since Saturday, and although I made a 12-cup bundt pan's worth, there are now zero slices left (this speaks both to the quality of the bread pudding and to my lack of self-control when it comes to pumpkin-flavored seasonal treats) so it's definitely a keeper.
2 Loaves French Bread, cut into 1" cubes, crusts removed
3 Whole Eggs
9 Egg Yolks
4 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
2/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Tablespoon Bourbon Whiskey
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl whisk together all of the ingredients, except the bread, until completely blended. Add the bread cubes and allow them to soak in the mixture for 15 minutes, pressing down on them gently a couple times with your hands about 5 minutes in.
Empty the mixture into a very well-greased 12-cup bundt pan. Place the bundt pan in a casserole dish that has been filled with 1 inch of water. Place a single sheet of tin foil over both pans, poking a couple holes in the center to help the steam escape. Place them in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, then remove the tin foil and continue baking for another 40-45 minutes, or until the exposed bread pudding is golden.
Remove both pans from the oven and remove the bundt pan from the casserole pan. Allow the bundt pan to cool for 5 minutes, then (while wearing oven mitts) shake the pan back & forth slightly to loosen it. Place a serving dish face side down over the top of the bundt pan and flip it over. Gently pull the bundt pan off of the bread pudding. Allow the bread pudding to cool for 15 more minutes before slicing and serving.