Thanksgiving & Pumpkin Bread Pudding

So like most, I've been busily preparing for Thanksgiving. We ordered our Diestel turkey from Whole Foods the other day, and I finalized our dinner menu. If this is your first time ordering and cooking a turkey, I would suggest reading these tips for Cooking a Perfect Turkey.

Streit's Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Diestel Turkey
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Gluten-Free Stuffing
  • Roasted Vegetables Medley
  • Cranberry Sauce

If you're not familiar with Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, they are a turkey farm out of Sonora, California, that raise turkeys fed vegetarian diets of corn and soybeans milled on the ranch – free of growth stimulants and hormones. Because their turkeys are organic, the turkey meat is more moist and has a better flavor then any other brand I have ever tasted. If you haven't ordered your turkey yet, I would highly recommend this product.

Besides our turkey, we'll be making gluten-free stuffing for the first time. I haven't decided if I'm going to try a recipe I find online, or if I'll make my own. When it comes to stuffing, we like the traditional blend: bread cubes, some seasonings with celery and onion. Once every couple of years I'll go wild and add mushrooms. Ha!

My wife, Val,  makes a wonderful cranberry sauce with real cranberries (sorry no recipe). We're not fans of that canned cranberry jellied stuff. We'll also be having  some oven roasted vegetables. Our vegetable medley will consist of: whole mushrooms, red onion, carrots, acorn squash, yukon gold potatoes, and sweet potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. When I roast vegetables I like to prepare them separate from the turkey. Since not everyone has a big enough oven or multiple ovens to do this, check out this simple "How To" to roast vegetables with your turkey care of Good Housekeeping.

You might have noticed that on our dinner menu there is no dessert listed. Well there's a good reason for that. For the life of me, I cannot make up my mind as what to make. Should I stay with tradition and make a pumpkin pie? I could make a pumpkin cheesecake, like I did four years ago (gluten-free of course). Or, maybe I should try something completely different. I've been at a loss as what to do. So I started Googling pumpkin recipes and that's when I came across Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Dessert Recipes.

There are 40 different recipes from pies, cakes, flans, muffins, breads and cookies all made with pumpkin. I never realized how many different pumpkin desserts there really are or the various possibilities on how to use pumpkin. After checking out all of Martha's ideas my head was spinning. Out of all the recipes I am most intrigued by the Pumpkin-Chocolate Tiramisu.  Obviously this is not your traditional tiramisu recipe. The espresso is replaced by almond liqueur. If you decide to give this recipe a whirl, you can purchase already made gluten-free ladyfingers by Schar, or make your own. Check out this Gluten-Free Ladyfingers Recipe from the Celiac Teen.

After seeing all those wonderful pumpkin recipes I decided I wanted to make my own version of a pumpkin bread pudding. I've only had bread pudding once, before I was diagnosed gluten intolerant. I found out from my wife that depending on where you are from in the U.S., whether it's the Midwest, South, etc., some people prefer their bread pudding moist and others like it dry. Dry? Really? Val said that is the way her mother always made it (they're Danish). Well, I figured since it was a pudding, that the consistency should be on the moist side. Anyway, after a few days of researching bread pudding recipes this is what I came up with.

Just a quick note, you don't need to add cinnamon to the recipe since it's already in the bread. You'll also notice that I use maple syrup instead of sugars, because that is how we roll in Michigan. Something I learned from our Canadian neighbors.


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce



Print Recipe


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Prep Time:                Cook Time:                           Ready In:                  Serves: 8
15 Min                           25-30 Min                               45 Min


12-14 slices (about 15-17 ounces) Rudi’s Cinnamon Raisin bread

1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree

2 cups (16 ounces) milk or milk substitute[at least 2% fat content]

2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

2 tablespoons of rum (optional)



Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in the middle. 

Whisk together pumpkin, milk, eggs, maple syrup, salt, spices, vanilla extract, pecans and rum in a bowl.


Cut bread slices into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes. Easiest way to get even pieces is to cut the slices of bread into quarters, and then quarter each smaller section.


Combine bread cubes with pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8x8 inch square baking dish.


Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.



Serve warm or cold. Best with a caramel sauce!

For more gluten-free Thanksgiving ideas and recipes check out "Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten-Free!" hosted by Brittany Angel of Real Sustenance. Brittany will be posting my recipe as well as many other gluten-free recipes from other bloggers on November 20th. So be sure to check back for more scrumptious ideas!


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