* 1-1/4 cups whipping cream
* 1 cup milk
* 4 or 5 large croissants or 10 oz. egg bread, torn (about 6 cups)
* 1-1/4 cups roasted, shelled chestnuts, crumbled, or one 8- to 10-oz. can chestnuts, drained and crumbled
* 3 large eggs
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 lb. roasted pumpkin flesh or hard squash flesh, mashed (2 cups) or one 15-oz. can pumpkin
* 1-1/4 cups dried currants or golden raisins
* 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
* 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
* Seeds of one vanilla bean* or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 recipe Molasses Cream (recipe below)
* Fresh thyme (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-1/2- to 3-quart casserole; set aside. In large bowl combine whipping cream and milk. Add torn croissants and chestnuts. Gently press until everything is covered by the milk mixture. Let stand while preparing custard.
2. For custard, combine eggs, egg yolk, sugars, pumpkin, currants, melted butter, spices, and vanilla in the top insert of a large double boiler (or in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water). Place double boiler over medium heat and stir constantly until warm mixture is warm and sugars have dissolved. Fold into croissant mixture. Pour all into prepared casserole. Bake, uncovered, 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm with Molasses Cream and thyme. Store any remaining bread pudding in refrigerator up to 2 days.
Makes 12 servings.
Molasses Cream: In large bowl whisk 1 cup whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Gradually whisk in 1 tablespoon molasses, sorghum or honey. Serve at once.
Roasting Chestnuts: Cut an X on flat side of each chestnut. Place in baking pan. Roast at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Peel chestnuts while still warm.
Roasting Pumpkin or Squash: Wash, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds of pie pumpkin or hard (winter) squash. Place halves, cut sides down, in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes or until tender; cool. Scrape flesh from shell with a spoon.
*Kitchen Tip: To remove seeds from vanilla bean, use small knife to split bean in half lengthwise. Using tip of knife, scrape out the small black seeds from each half, discard pod.