2 c. half and half (fat free is OK or whole milk)
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (store variety or included recipe)
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt
10 c. 1/2 inch cubes egg bread(potato bread worked fine) (about 10 ounces)
1/2 c. raisins or craisins or a combination of the two
1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans
1 1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. (l stick) unsalted butter
1 c. whipping cream, plus more for topping
1/4 c. whisky
1 t. vanilla
For the pudding: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in raisins or craisins. Transfer mixture to an 11 by 7 inch glass baking dish and let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle toasted pecans over mixture. Bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
For caramel sauce: whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in half the cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk in balance of cream, whiskey and vanilla. Reheat gently before serving.
Sift powdered sugar over bread pudding. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla, if desired. Serve warm or cold with warm caramel sauce and whipped cream. Serves 8.
Pumpkin pie spice:
1/4 c. ground cinnamon
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. ground allspice
1 t. ground cloves
Combine and store in an airtight glass container. Makes a scant 1/2 c.