Caramelized Pumpkin & Armagnac Prune Pudding!

Prune pudding with caramelized pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This season is bittersweet as far as fresh produce goes. On one hand my backyard urban farm is just a ghost of its lush summer self and I miss it. But, there are the apples, pears, persimmons, quince and the versatile sugar pumpkin, which are at the height of their season. I also associate the smell of sweet spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom with cool weather. The mixture of the fruits and spices is baked up in quintessential American classics like apple and pumpkin pies, poached pears and some across-the-pond desserts like persimmon pudding and quince tarts. All of these combinations are pure comfort warm, sweet and hearty. Another classic pairing that fits this description are prunes & Armagnac. So when thinking about the ultimate fall pudding I layered together pumpkin, spices, the prune combo, caramelized the crust and topped the whole thing with maple spiced walnuts. It is outrageous and something you can eat for dessert, brunch or an after school snack. It was equally tasty hot and served cold.

I used cubes of slightly stale bread, something I always have around, but I have also done this pudding with vanilla pound cake or gingerbread.

*Some big news below!

Caramelized Pumpkin & Armagnac Prune Pudding:

8 cups of 1/2 cubed bread (such as brioche, challah or other soft enriched bread) or pound cake or gingerbread.

1 1/2 cups chopped prunes

1/4 cup Armagnac, cognac or brandy (pronounced Arm-an-yak)

Pumpkin custard:

5 cups half & half

5 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

1 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon clove

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling on top

Candied Walnuts:

1 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1 cup heavy whipping cream for garnish, whipped to stiff peak

Prunes mixed with armagnac | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a bowl add the Armagnac to the prune and allow them to macerate for at least 30 minutes, but as long as overnight.

Combining prune pudding ingredients | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To prepare the pudding, mix together the half & half, eggs, yolks, pumpkin, salt, sugars, spices and vanilla,

Whisking prune pudding with emersion blender | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

using an immersion blender or carefully with a whisk. Set aside.

Bread crumbs and prunes | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Layer half the bread cubes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and then the prunes ( do not add the liquid with them, save it and add it to the custard).

Prune pudding with caramelized pumpkin recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Top with the remaining bread cubes and then pour the pumpkin custard over them. You may not fit all of the custard in at once, but when the bread absorbs some of it, you can add the rest.

Prune pudding with caramelized pumpkin recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Gently press the bread down into the custard to make sure they are all soaking it up. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to really absorb the custard thoroughly.

Prune pudding with caramelized pumpkin recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. Place the baking dish in a larger pan, lined with a kitchen towel. Add HOT water to the larger dish to create a water bath. The towel and the water act as insulation and create a more even baking temperature. Bake for about 45 minutes or until just set in the center of the pudding.

Prune pudding with caramelized pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar.

Prune pudding with caramelized pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Turn the oven to broil and return the pan to the oven, just until the sugar is melted and caramelized. If you have a Chef’s Torch you can achieve the same effect with your torch.

Candied walnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To make the candied walnuts:

Turn the oven to 350. In a bowl combine the nuts, maple, salt and spices. Spread the coated nuts onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until nicely toasted and golden brown. Be careful not to over bake or they will turn bitter.

Prune pudding with caramelized pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and the nuts!

*Some announcements:

Some of you may have noticed a new book at the top of my site. Jeff and I are thrilled to announce our newest book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients, which comes out Tuesday Oct. 27th! That morning I will be on the Martha Stewart Radio Show, Jeff will be on TV and we’ll both be at the Edina Barnes & Noble to sign books. You can find all the details for our book tour and events here. I really hope to meet you if we are coming to a town near you.

You can also learn about the baking group Michelle at BigBlackDogs is going to be hosting a baking group for HBin5! If you want to join her and a group of other bread enthusiasts read more here! Jeff and I will be doing some guest posts for her as well.

Last week I got an email from the folks at Saveur Magazine telling me that they had chosen ZoeBakes as one of the “Sites We Love!” Oh my, it is quite a list of fantastic blogs and I am honored to be among them. If you click on the badge, also added to the top of the blog you can see the whole list! I suppose it is one time I wished my parents hadn’t named me Zoë, because I always end up last on alphabetical lists! 😉

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28 thoughts to “Caramelized Pumpkin & Armagnac Prune Pudding!”

  1. Oh so Fall! I do always enjoy the rebirth of spring. Thank you for another use for Armagnac. We baked a tart in BFMHTY with Armagnac. In my mid sized University town I couldn’t put my hands on it. However, I could be inspired to search further perhaps in St. Louis. Thank you again.

  2. This looks incredibly tasty and delicious. I’ve never baked with Armagnac…Obviously I’m missing out on something wonderful. Can’t wait to try it in this recipe!

  3. Congratulations on all of your wonderful news! I can’t wait to check out your new book – I love the first one.

    And the pumpkin pudding? Sounds amazing!

  4. Recipes like these make fall my favorite season. I just love cooking during this time of year. Thank you for this lovely recipe; my idea of a perfect dessert.

  5. Double Congratulations for the new book and being named one of Saveur’s “Sites we Love.” I really enjoy your posts, photos, and recipes.

  6. Conogratulations on your book!
    I’ve been looking for a pumpkin recipe that is just a little unusual. I’d say this will hit the spot! Bread pudding is a family favorite and they will love this one. Nice to have grown children with mature taste buds!

  7. Wow, this sounds just like fall and so exquisite. I would love to try this with gingerbread, I feel like the spiciness would add a great extra touch. Thank you for a good idea.

  8. I’m excited to try this recipe this weekend–I’m a Halloween baby! and will be having friends over to help celebrate. I’m sure this will be a hit.
    As for being last on alphabetical lists. . . bear in mind that most people remember best the first and the last but not so much the middle. Being last can be a good thing 🙂

  9. Although I’ve never had bread pudding or pumpkin before(I know!)this looks incredibly tasty. This might be my first pumpkin-experience!

  10. Zoe, congratulations. You deserve it, your recipes are the best, and your photos are great as it shows the critical steps, and make us feel at ease in trying them. I look forward to your updates everyday.

  11. You have worked up quite a head of steam. It’s so great to see all that hard work being realized and recognized. Congrats!

  12. Gorgeous pudding!! Love the prunes in there. Might have to make this one for Thanksgiving!

    And a big CONGRATS on your new book! I will be buying it for sure. All the best!!

  13. boo hoo- you are skipping right over Denver and not stopping at one of our bookstores like the Tsttered Cover!

  14. What a incredible recipe. I had one bottle of Armagnac and a bottle of Calvados and I know idea in how to use in any dessert. Thanks for share this amazing recipe

  15. Thank You for this fabulous recipe! I used it as part of the filling of two giant prunes aux armagnac trifles with pastry cream and mascarpone, loaded with prunes soaked in armagnac. It was splendiferous!! Can’t wait to try it again for just the delicious bread pudding which I could not stop eating. Due to a timing emergency, I had to turn down the temperature and slow bake to under 300 for an hour and a half, it was perfection!

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