Make It: Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Brandy Hard Sauce


5 eggs
3 cups half-and-half
2 cups canned pumpkin purée
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon diced candied ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups cubed day-old egg bread or croissants
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon brandy

In a very large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, pumpkin, sugar, candied ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Fold in the bread cubes. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch cake pans. Transfer the bread cube mixture to the pans and bake until firm, approximately 30 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool.    
     Meanwhile, prepare the hard sauce. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the cream and brandy. Place the mixture into a small saucepan and warm gently over low heat. Remove the bread pudding from the pans. Slice and serve with the warm sauce. Serves 8.