Caramel-Pecan-Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Serves 11

4 lg. eggs
2 (15 oz.) cans pumpkin
1 ½ c. milk
1 c. half and half
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz.) French Bread loaf, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 10 c.)

Caramel-Pecan Sauce:
1 c. pecans
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
½ c. butter
1 T. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Whisk together eggs and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add bread pieces, stirring to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8-24 hrs. Spoon chilled bread mixture into a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake, covered, at 350 for 35 mins.

During last 15 mins. of baking, prepare Caramel-Pecan Sauce. Heat pecans in a medium skillet over med-low heat, stirring often, 3-5 mins. or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cook brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over med. heat, stirring occasionally, 3-4 mins. or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pecans. Remove bread pudding from oven; drizzle with Caramel-Pecan Sauce. Bake 5 mins. or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.

Carol Shaffer