I must say, I was struck by a stroke of genius when I came up with this one. I had made a loaf of pumpkin challah bread that I needed to finish off before it went bad. Bread pudding was the obvious solution, but a chai-spiced bread pudding took this sweet idea to a whole new level.
The method is pretty simple. Prepare a milky chai, substitute it for milk or cream in your custard, and add some pumpkin into the custard mix too. I basically prepared my Indian Spiced Chai according to the recipe, then added pumpkin and eggs to make a custard. The pumpkin-flavored challah bread is not essential but definitely helps bring out more of the flavors of fall that make this dish so spectacular.
If you don't have all the whole spices on hand to make the chai, simply add the powder version of them when you incorporate the sugar. I also like to add a little touch of cinnamon and brown sugar on top before popping the pudding in the oven to complete the dish!
Pumpkin Chai Challah Bread Pudding
- 2 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 cardamom pods
- 8 whole cloves
- 1/4 inch stem of ginger, thinly sliced
- 4 tsp Darjeeling Tea (or other black tea) leaves (about 3 tea bags)
- 1 cup milk (the richer, the better)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs
- 4-5 cups day-old pumpkin challah bread (regular challah bread will do just fine)
1. Put water, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger into a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add the tea and allow to infuse for recommended brewing time (usually 3-5 minutes).
4. Remove tea and spices.
5. Add milk and heat on high until just about to boil. Then reduce heat, and add sugar and pumpkin puree. Whisk to fully incorporate.
6. While allowing the tea to cool, cut challah bread into 1-inch cubes. If cubes are soft and moist to the touch, toast lightly to dry the bread out.
7. Whisk the eggs into the pumpkin tea mixture. Divide cubes among buttered ramekins or baking dish. Pour the pumpkin tea custard over the bread, being sure to push down on any pieces of bread that might not be soaked.
8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
*Recipe makes enough bread pudding to fill four individual 10 oz. ramekins