Thanksgiving Recipe: Hedy Goldsmith's Pumpkin Streusel Brioche Bread Pudding

We've asked Miami's hottest chefs and bartenders for tips and recipes to make your turkey day the most delicious ever. We're sharing a few recipes or tips, along with some thoughts from each chef on what the holiday means to them.

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- Thanksgiving in Miami: Recipes and Guides

Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without dessert. Sure, you could buy a pumpkin pie, but that's cheating. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink's Hedy Goldsmith has a solution. Make this incredibly easy but decadent pumpkin streusel broiche bread pudding. It's also the ultimate hostess gift to bring if you're lucky enough to be the guest at someone's house.

Goldsmith shares with us her fondest Thanksgiving day memory and a dedication to a special friend she remembers fondly during the holiday.

"One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories comes from a potential holiday disaster. When I was about ten years old, my mother forgot to defrost the turkey. My mom didn't think to defrost the turkey since she was going to roast it in the oven, anyway. That made perfect sense in her world of Swanson TV dinners. So our Thanksgiving consisted of only sides -- no protein. My brother in particular was pretty happy because there was only the good stuff like mashed potatoes, yams, and bread pudding. It was a carbo loading extravaganza!

This recipe is in loving memory of my dear friend Kay, who was passionate about this bread pudding. She loved it, and I loved her."

Pumpkin Streusel Brioche Bread Pudding
Serves 12-16

For the Streusel
1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stocks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Pudding
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated tangerine zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 vanilla beans, split
9 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
10 cups, 1 1/2 inch thick cubes of challah or brioche, crusts trimmed (day-old bread works best)

To make the topping:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugars, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt and stir until blended. Ass the cooled, melted butter and stir until well blended. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, until the mixture is very cold and the pieces are about 3/4 inch clumps. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To make the pudding:
In a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream, half-and-half, sugar, ginger, tangerine zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Scrape all the seeds from the vanilla beans, and add them to the saucepan along with the beans. Cook over medium-high heat until just barely boiling and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Fish out the vanilla beans, scraping any remaining custard and seeds back into the mixture, and set them aside.

In a very large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin puree, and cognac.

Over medium heat, bring the cream mixture back to a simmer. Whisking constantly, slowly pour it into the yolk mixture until blended. Add the bread and stir to coat.

Set aside for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the bread to absorb the custard.

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if using a convection oven). Lightly grease (preferable with Pam) a 12-cup baking dish (I use a 9x13-inch pan) and place it in a larger baking pan that has 2 inch-high sides.

Pour the custard mixture into the smaller baking dish. Put the baking dishes into the oven and carefully fill the larger baking dish with very hot water to come halfway up the sides of the inner dish. Bake for 20 minutes (15 minutes if using a convection oven).

Remove the pans from the oven and scatter the streusel evenly over the top of the custard. Bake for another 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes if using a convection oven), or until the topping is golden brown and the center of the pudding jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken.

Transfer the baking dishes to a wire rack, and remove the inner dish from the hot water bath. Serve the bread pudding immediately or allow it to cool completely and then refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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