Fork Spoon Knife is the personal blog of Asha where she chronicles her journeys in food through stories, recipes and photographs. She can also be found doodling and sharing her experiences as below.



Thanksgiving Special: Drunken Bread Pudding with Homemade Pumpkin Challah

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

My! Is that a pumpkinilicious bite or what?! Well, you may have guessed the reason for this pumpkin indulgence. Yes, this was the slated round 8 dish for Project Food Blog. I made this dish last Friday. As I removed the pudding from the oven, I found out that it was no longer needed!

I gobbled a generous slice to drown my disappointment, right then. After that, the world seemed sunnier and I smiled again. In the FSK household, there is nothing like not needed as far as food is concerned. All good food is welcome and will be consumed at the hastiest! :) Mr. FSK was bummed for me, but, glad I had made the pudding before the results came out. LOL.

Eggs and Milk

Of course, the post was going to make it here, anyway, contest or not. Then, I had a bright idea. What if a bunch of us, who were dreaming pumpkins for the contest but could no longer enter our creation, posted our recipes anyway, in unity?! I mean, like the Pumpkin Crusaders?! Cool, eh? Oh, yeah! Liren and I cohorted to rope in some cool bloggers and fellow contestants whose end, like ours, came too soon. :)

So, what would have been my entry? A homemade Pumpkin Challah, which, is then baked into a Drunken Bread Pudding, spiked with brandied fruits and baked in a pumpkin custard!

Now, my reasons for choosing this particular mode of delivering the pumpkin were simple. I love to bake bread at home and that was one skill I hadn't yet showcased in the contest. Plus, the challah has always been an aspiration; those braids are just too inviting.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

When I was a kid, with longer tresses, I used to braid my hair for school; two tiny braids on either side, tied with a ribbon. I love braiding; kind of therapeutic, like kneading. So, it felt right. And, the richness of the bread from the egg, makes it just perfect for the Holidays - Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas....

The recipe I used was a very simple one and I could not believe that such amazing bread could be made with so little effort! Once the bread was baked, I just couldn't stop eyeing it's simple gorgeousness; the shape and the entrancing golden crust. I almost did not want to go through with the pudding. I did not want to slice the best looking bread, I had ever baked. But, then, the show must go on! :)

Pumpkin challah

My next challenge was the pudding. Ok, I confess! I had never had much success with bread puddings before this attempt!! And, the secret to this one lies in using toasted bread and baking the pudding in a water bath, like you would a custard. In keeping with the season, I spiked the pudding with dried fruits that I had soaked in brandy for a month. Ah! the flavors they infused into the pudding - boozy, rich and dvine!

For serving, I tried many accessories; fresh fruits, chocolate mascarpone mousse and just simply dusted with sugar. In honesty, the last was the best. The pudding holds its own; no garnish needed!

Pu Bread Pudding 1

For more pumpkin ideas, check out my recipes here.

Now, I highly recommended that you go, check out what awesomeness, others have created...

Liren from Kitchen Confidante
Josie from Day Dreamer Desserts
Lindsey from Hot Polka Dot
Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen

Drunken Pumpkin Bread Pudding
(adapted from
Joy of Baking)

2 cups of challah, diced (recipe below)
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup half and half or light cream
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 T brandied fruits (raisins, cranberries, plums)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 T melted and cooled butter + another for toasting the bread

Toss the bread in a tablespoon of butter with the nutmeg, arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 375 F for about 10 minutes until toasted and golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the custard. Beat the egg and sugar until light colored and thick. Add the vanilla and mix in thoroughly. Add the melter butter, cream and pumpkin puree and combine to a creamy mixture.

When the bread is ready, toss it with the brandied fruits and arrange in a small loaf pan. Pour the custard mixture over the bread. Gently press the bread pieces in so they soak up some of the custard. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water rising half way up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Challah
{adapted from A Blessing of Bread by Maggie Glezer via
My Jewish Learning}
(makes 2 loaves)

1 package active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons fresh nutmeg
3-1/4 + 1/2 cups unbleached flour
scant 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg + 1 egg, beaten for glaze
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal (optional)

Sprinkle yeast over warm water with a teaspoon of sugar and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy. Stir to dissolve. Meanwhile, mix 3-1/4 cups of flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in yeast mixture. Slowly, incorporate some of the flour into the water, just enough to form a soft paste. There will be quite a bit of dry flour around the edges Cover bowl with a towel and leave until frothy and risen, about 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin puree, oil and egg. Add to the risen flour mixture and combine thoroughly. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is pliable. The dough will be wet. Add the reserved 1/2 cup of flour a little at a time till you get a smooth, tacky dough.

Let the dough rest for a few minutes and then transfer to a lightly bowl. Brush the top of the dough with a little oil, cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place till it triples in volume, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch down dough, knead it lightly, and cut it into two equal pieces. Cut each of the two pieces into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a straight rope. Braid three ropes together and repeat to get two braided loaves.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle a little corn meal/semolina. Place loaves on the sheets, cover with towel and let rise until doubled in size. Glaze loaves with beaten egg reserved for glaze. Bake at 350 F for about 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool on rack and let it come to room temperature before slicing it.

I am sending this bread to our friendly Yeastspotting Susan! :)


  1. Your photos are even more beautiful everyday...

  2. Pumpkin wow wow..This is a treat to watch and try I am sure

  3. Oh I love being called a pumpkin crusader! I know what you mean about the therapy of kneading, it really is like braiding. The challah is gorgeous! So glad we were able to experience PFB together, to the end :)

  4. Yum Yum Yum! Love challah and love pumpkin.

  5. Everything looks wonderful. I am loving the pumpkin challah.

  6. I am just in awe at how gorgeous your photos are. I'm sorry you didn't make it to the next round but I am SO happy you are sharing your pumpkin recipe. It looks sooooo good and beautiful!! I think it's a wonderful idea that you all are posting your pumpkin recipes. :)

  7. This looks gorgeous! I'm making a pumpkin bread pudding (soaking tonight and baking tomorrow) for Thanksgiving and I hope mine looks half as good as yours!

  8. Looks delicious Asha! And your photos are divine as always! Project Food Blog doesn't know what they're missing! :)

  9. If they couldn't advance you to the next round then let me tell you its their loss! Who in thr right mind would let go this beauty :-)
    Congratulations to all you lovely cooks who were able to shine thins long and will keep shining if thrs a contest or not!

  10. I agree...PFB doesn't know what they are missing. This is a beautiful post with a wonderful recipe and it all and can't wait to make this (someday...when I recover from pumpkin overload)...

  11. This sounds like the best bread pudding ever! And i love the fact that it is 'drunk' - i like my deserts to have a kick.

  12. Hi Asha,

    Well you have successfully infiltrated my families Thanksgiving table! This is pure heaven ... pumpkin, challah, made into bread pudding with FIGS! Be still my heart and hungry my tummy :) Sending link to my mom now so we can make this. Thank you!

  13. Well I'm disappointed too. I didn't know you hadn't advanced. You should be very proud of how far you got and most of all your fabulous posts! Well done! Hugssssssssssss

    That really is a gorgeous bread and the pudding looks amazingly delicious!

  14. what a wonderful looking challah! love the pumpkin addition and the best of course is the pudding you created with it. lovely!

  15. That is a beautiful bread pudding. Those Project Food Blog people are really missing out. I love the photographs, the flavors you combined, and your writing (I used to have braids with ribbon threaded through too).

  16. Your first paragraph almost made me tear up. I can understand your disappointment for sure. But you have a fabulous blog, absolutely stunning photos, and delicious recipes, like this yummy bread pudding. Be very proud. Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. I've already told you what I thought about your being "sent out" of this contest, and this post just confirms it...Your light keeps on shining and that is the most important thing!

  18. I'm shaking my head in disappointment. This bread, with your pumpkin challah (which is not easy to make), looks divine! Whatever table (or bench) you take pictures on.. I want it. :-)

  19. I love challah bread. I love the rich flavor and the texture. I also love bread pudding -- it's a very hearty sweet treat, always hits the spot. I've never had pumpkin challah though and I've never had pumpkin challah bread pudding, too. And your post just makes me want to try it soon. Lovely post.

  20. Pumpkin challah looks extremely irresistible..droolworthy bread pudding..

  21. Beautiful Asha. Just gorgeous. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday!

  22. delicious presentation
    bread pudding looks delicious

  23. Dear Asha: oh how you are missed already! This is elegant, gorgeous and so perfect in many ways. Love, Amelia

  24. yum, this looks delicious.. never had drunken bread (only drunken chicken)... so very interesting recipe for me :)

  25. I am drunken by your fabulous recipe and photos!

  26. Hi, Asha. You have gorgeous photos which, I imagine, do justice to the tempting and elegant bread pudding!



  27. I like a food blogger who doesn't let food OR a post go to waste! Hooray for the pumpkin crusaders - am going to check the other posts now.

  28. Glad to read your world became brighter after munching this gorgeous bread pudding. Congrats on huge efforts over at Foodbuzz. Your blog is beautiful!

  29. your setup is always marvelously impeccable, and now i'm dying to taste this. incredible post!

  30. So sorry this was not needed at PFB ... but we're so thankful you made this and shared it with us.

  31. Looks fabulous! Im bookmarking this!
    You take beautiful photos too.

  32. This is such a lovely recipe. I have to try it out. One question on the custard preparation. When do you add the pumpkin puree. I could not find it in the recipe.

  33. Subi: Thanks for pointing it out. I missed the puree in the directions. You add it into the custard. I have made the appropriate changes to the recipe :)


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