Robert PenryIt’s that time of year — friends and family gather for reunions, dinners and parties. And, no get-together is complete without a great dish. Robert Penry is an admissions classroom presenter for the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. He’s providing some great culinary inspirations for your holiday gatherings this year. Be sure to pick up our next few issues for more ideas for your holiday and New Year cooking extravaganzas.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 lb (about 10 cups) French Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 Eggs (large)
2 Egg Yolks (large)
2 C. Heavy Cream
2 C. Milk
15-1/2 oz Pumpkin Puree
3/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Chopped Pecans
1/2 c. Dried Cranberries
2 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Nutmeg
2 t. Vanilla Extract
2 T. Dark Rum
Large Aluminum Roasting Pan

Method of Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Bake bread cubes on baking sheet for about 15 minutes, turning several times to toast evenly. Allow to cool.
3. In a large bowl, add eggs, cream, milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, pecans, cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and rum. Whisk well to combine.
4. Add bread cubes and toss gently to combine. Pour mixture into a greased 13×9 glass baking dish.
5. Allow bread mixture to sit for 45 minutes.
6. Place glass dish into roasting pan, fill with enough boiling water until the water reaches halfway up the glass baking dish.
7. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
8. Allow to cool slightly for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with crème anglaise.

Crème Anglaise

1 c. Heavy Cream
2 t. Vanilla Extract
4 Egg Yolks (large)
1/3 c. Sugar

Method of Preparation:
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm cream and vanilla until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan.
2. In a medium glass bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until completely smooth.
3. To temper the egg mixture, pour 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.
4. Gradually add tempered egg mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly.
5. Cook until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
6. Serve over pumpkin bread pudding.