As I write this I can see the rain pouring down outside my window at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast. For most of us on the East Coast we have had to forgo the usual pleasures of early Fall with it’s warm sunlight and late summer harvests. Instead, in less than four days we have completely erased the water deficit that an unusually dry September brought us. But just because you can’t be outside kicking leaves and hiking doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fruits of the Autumn harvest. With that in mind Sara and I got busy with one of our favorite Fall breakfasts: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spiced Apple and Pear Compote.
The first thing I did was to gather together all of the ingredients. What a lovely array; apples and pears, fresh eggs from a nearby farm, pumpkin butter from the Farmer’s Market, chopped pecans and brown sugar, and lots of lovely spices!
This recipe seems complicated but you can make the compote a few days ahead and the pudding itself needs to be made the night before. We like to garnish the pudding with sage leaves from the garden which have been quickly fried in olive oil but you can certainly skip that. All of this means that in the morning all you have to do is pop the pudding in the oven, heat up the compote and cook some sausage if you would like.
Pumpkin Pudding on Spiced Apple and Pear Compote with Fried Sage
For the Pumpkin Pudding:
7 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of Ginger
1/4 cup pumpkin butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
16 fresh Sage leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Good quality sausage patties
Prepare the night before:
1) Grease a 9X13 baking dish
2) Cut enough crusty bread into cubes to fill the the baking dish quite full. You will want some of the bread to remain visible and recognizable.
3) Whisk together eggs, milk, pumpkin butter, vanilla and spices until well combined. Pour this mixture over the bread, pushing the bread down until it is soaked. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4) Prepared fried sage leaves. Heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Fry sages leaves in oil for about 2 minutes until sizzling stops. They will firm up when cool. Remove and dust with salt. Store on a paper paper towel in a plastic air-tight container for up to three days.
For the Spiced Pear and Apple Compote:
6 Pears, peeled and cut into one inch chunks
6 Apples, peeled and cut into one inch chunks
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp round cardamom
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
Stir together all ingredients except the butter and thyme leaves in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the fruit is soft (about 15 minutes). Mash fruit a bit then continue cooking uncovered to desired consistency, about 10 minutes more. Stir in butter and thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in refrigerator.
In the morning:
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle brown sugar and nuts over pumpkin pudding and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden.
2) While Pudding is baking, heat compote over low heat.
3) Cut Pudding into 16 squares and serve over warm compote topped with a fried sage leaf and sausage on the side.