I never really thought I like bread pudding. Then one day while having dinner with a friend at one of her favorite restaurants, she waxed on about the how amazing their chocolate bread pudding was and how we couldn't leave without trying it. I tried to be optimistic but inside I was really wondering how I had agreed to ordering wet, soggy bread instead of the lemon curd dessert I had been eyeing. Then it came, warm and chocolaty and oh-so-comforting, and I was instantly converted to a bread pudding lover that night.
However if you have ever made traditional bread pudding, you know it is a calorie bomb. Between the half and half, heavy whipping cream, eggs, sugar, and bread - it's quite the indulgent dessert. Luckily it's pretty easy to lighten things up by making a few changes that don't sacrifice on flavor.
In this version, to celebrate the season, I added pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and plenty of pumpkin pie spice. It's the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving or any fall get together in my opinion. Depending on your will power, you may want to consider making the caramel sauce (from the Epicurious recipe this is adapted from) and some homemade whipped cream to serve on the side. You don't need a lot but it really adds a terrific flavor and in my opinion is worth the extra calories.
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