This vegan bread pudding is full of the aromatic flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, combined with the rich, amber taste of maple syrup.
Well, it’s that time of year again, the time when I throw all caution to the wind and offer you something a little richer, a little more decadent, a little more sinfully delicious than my usual fare. I consider Thanksgiving to be a time to relax and enjoy cooking for and eating with family and friends.
And because I’m often put into the position of feeling like a “vegan ambassador”–someone whose job it is to spread the glory of veganism to everyone she meets–I try to come up with something that everybody will enjoy, not just those of us who are used to following a low-fat, low-sugar whole foods diet.
That’s why some of my holiday recipes, such as Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake or Vegan Green Bean Casserole, contain ingredients I wouldn’t normally use. I don’t advocate eating these delicious dishes every day, but I think they can be very special as a part of a celebration and feast once a year.
For this year’s holiday extravagance, I decided to commit culinary heresy and take my husband D’s signature dessert, the New Orlean’s style bread pudding he learned to make years ago, and give it a fat-free makeover. It was a huge challenge. The original recipe for just the sauce contained a stick of butter, a cup of sugar, and a cup of rum. D, of course, had veganized it with margarine and cut down the amount, but it’s still one of the richest desserts ever to come out of my kitchen. And it’s the dessert that my daughter now asks for on her birthday. So I knew I had better do it justice, but I decided to go a step further and make it…unrecognizable.
The original was, essentially, French bread soaked in sugar, margarine, and alcohol. I decided to replace the margarine with pumpkin and pumpkin spices, replace the 3 cups of sugar with a lot less maple syrup and just a tad of organic dark brown sugar, and reduce the alcohol to just a taste. I held my breath as my family members sampled it and gave their verdicts: “It’s different but delicious.” And then they proceeded to eat it all up!
If you like pumpkin pie and bread pudding, I think you’ll love this combination. It’s full of the aromatic flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, combined with the rich, amber taste of maple syrup. It’s just sweet enough without being too sweet, just decadent enough without being loaded with fat. You can serve it to your family and not feel guilty when they eat the entire pan.
I know someone is going to ask about making this gluten-free, but I just don’t know. The French bread I used was quite sturdy and dense, and it’s the gluten in the bread that keeps it from dissolving into mush. I fear that gluten-free bread might not work, but since I don’t have any experience with gluten-free bread, I can’t say for sure. It could be that breaking down into mush isn’t such a bad thing in a bread pudding, so I will let my gluten-free readers experiment with this and report back.
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If you’re planning your holiday meal, start right here with my collection of Thanksgiving recipes.
Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- 1 16 ounce loaf French bread
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/2 cup soymilk or other non-dairy milk vanilla or plain
- 1 cup pumpkin canned or cooked and pureed
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer may substitute 2 1/2 tsp. starch (tapioca, potato, or corn starch) plus 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt optional
- 1/2 cup apple cider or juice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon apple juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brandy, rum, or bourbon add to taste up to 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts optional
- Cut or tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. If the bread seems moist or dense, spread it out on a cookie sheet and toast it for a few minutes in the oven. Place it in a large bowl and add the raisins.
- Put the non-dairy milk into the blender along with the pumpkin, maple syrup, sugar, Ener-G, vanilla, spices, and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour it over the bread, using a silicone spatula to get out every drop. Stir well to completely coat all of the bread. Set aside to soak for a few minutes while you ready the pan and preheat the oven.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper or oil lightly. Pour the bread pudding into the pan in an even layer. Bake for about 45 minutes or until top is set and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- While the pudding is cooling make the sauce. Place the apple cider and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring often, until reduced to about half.
- Carefully add the cornstarch mixture, bring to a boil, and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is no longer cloudy and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add the brandy or other spirits a little at a time, to taste. Stir in the nuts. Poke a few holes in the top of the bread pudding with a toothpick, and pour the sauce over the top, distributing nuts evenly. Cut into squares and serve warm.
Nutritional info is approximate.
PearlNovember 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm
im looking for your recipe for the ezekiel croutons.
TracieNovember 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm
I want to make this for Thanksgiving but I’m afraid I’ll eat the whole thing all by myself!! Looks delicious!
KiesaNovember 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm
Hi there. I made this last year and it was delicious, but when reading the list of ingredients this year, the canned pumpkin size isn’t included. What size of canned pumpkin? Thank you!
KiesaNovember 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm
never mind! i found it!
DawnNovember 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm
I made this last night with leftover pumpkin loaf instead of French bread and pumpkin and it was a huge hit. It was very yummy but at 300 calories it will be an occasional treat.
love2tatDecember 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm
Help- You say 1 Tbs Ener-G Egg Replacer- or subs- you just put the dry powder and do not mix it with water before using?? It would be a time saver if I could just use the Ener-G and not mix it up… Thank you for the answer…And- do the subs work just as good? it is almost $8 a box here for the Ener-G.
And- I just made your MiracleNaise- and loved it!! My first ever venture with tofu! And- made your Pimento Cheese Hummus- and both my sister and husband are totally addicted- and I do mean addicted- if the bowl finished Please Make More NOW…. lol I do love your website!!
Susan VoisinDecember 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm
Yes! You can just put the Ener-G or subs right in. Your mixing it with the liquids in the blender. The subs work just as good because EnerG is basically starch and leavening,
I’m so glad to hear that about the MiracleNaise!
love2tatDecember 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm
ok- I use the ener-g in making yeast bread in the breadmaker, non yeast bread & loaves, muffins, pancakes etc… this means that I could put the dry with the dry and add the water amount to the wet and not get out a bowl & whisk & spatula to “make it”?? What time that would save… How awesome.
And I could make up cornstarch & baking powder as a mix to use instead of buying Ener-g???
Thank ;you so much… Waiting for you to confirm
Susan VoisinDecember 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm
Some recipes do rely on making a “fluffy” mixture of EnerG and water. I’m not sure if a breadmaker bread would do that because it seems like all the fluffiness would be stirred out of it during the kneading process. So I’m leaning toward saying that it may work to add it in dry in that recipe, but since I haven’t tried it, you would be taking a little risk.
Here’s a link to a homemade EnerG: http://fatfreevegan.com/blog/2010/08/11/egg-replacer/ Where it says “flour,” it really means starch–potato starch and tapioca starch. I’m pretty sure that you could substitute cornstarch for either or both of the starches with no problem.
KaseyNovember 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Hi! Not sure if this has been asked, but, what would be the substitution for the spices if I was to just use a pumpkin spice? Thank you!!
JanAugust 25, 2016 at 9:18 pm
A friend made this dish for us today. I begged for the recipe to make it for friends Sunday. Moist, tender, and soooo flavorful. Thanks for a great recipe!
RoseSeptember 1, 2020 at 11:30 am
I made this with a loaf of gluten free crusty bread (I am lucky to live near a great gf bakery) with excellent results. Would probably be ok with non crusty gf breads too as long as cubes were toasted first. Awesome recipe!! Thanks so much!
JanAugust 30, 2016 at 2:35 pm
A friend made it and I had to try it. Had no juice, so I used wine. Still delicious!
LinNovember 3, 2016 at 7:21 am
Hi- I want to make this for Thanksgiving. Do you suggest I just make it the night before and reheat in the microwave? Or do you think I could prepare it but store the sauce separately and the next day dump the sauce on and heat in the oven? Thanks, looks delicious!
Susan VoisinNovember 3, 2016 at 8:26 am
I like to wait to make the sauce just before serving. You could make the pudding the day ahead and store it tightly wrapped and then heat it gently (covered) in either microwave or oven before pouring the sauce over it. You just don’t want it to dry out. You can also serve it at room temperature or just slightly warm.
KimOctober 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm
This looks fantastic, Susan! Could it be adapted for use in an Instant Pot? Thanks.
Susan VoisinOctober 14, 2017 at 6:13 pm
Maybe? I’ve never done cake-like things in the IP so I can’t say how to do it. Maybe you could search for similar recipes to get a sense of how to do it.
Jessica SNovember 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm
I tried this today using 16 oz of French Baguette and 1/4 C of Pumpkin Spice Rum. This is REALLY good. Would it be wrong to eat it ALL myself?
YawarOctober 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm
This recipe looks fabulous, thanks! Just beware that substituting oats will NOT make it gluten-free. An easy way to remember the problem grains if you are cooking for a gluten sensitive friend is to avoid “BROW”, an acronym formed from the first letters of gluten containing grains:
JessicaDecember 11, 2018 at 12:48 pm
I made this for Thanksgiving and my non-vegan family loved it. I let it sit in the fridge for two days after assembling and then poured the sauce over after warming the dish up. I used 3 tablespoons of a ginger Bourbon for a double batch of the sauce and it was perfect with enough leftover for people to pour extra on their serving if they wanted.
Lisa RJanuary 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm
I’ve never made this before but looks wonderful. Having never used Ever-G Egg Replacer, I want to make sure I understand. So, 3 TBS (2.5 starch plus .5 baking powder) replaces just 1 TBS Ener-G Egg Replacer? Also, sounds like can be made day before and still be very good. Right?
Susan VoisinJanuary 1, 2019 at 3:49 pm
It’s 2.5 *teaspoons* starch and .5 *teaspoon* baking powder. I’ll check the recipe to make sure that’s clear (tablespoons would not be good!). And yes, this is one of those dishes that gets better over time, so feel free to make it a day ahead.
SamNovember 18, 2019 at 6:07 am
Sounds great. But will it work without the alcohol?
Susan VoisinNovember 18, 2019 at 7:42 am
Yes, the alcohol just adds flavor. You could try using a little fruit juice.
BethDecember 7, 2019 at 5:04 pm
So I was going to make this all the way. But once I tasted the ingredients that were blended up (minus the Ener-G) it was too good to make into bread pudding. We all tasted it and it was amazing. I added more milk and turned it into a drink. Then I tasted it with coffee and it was so good like pumpkin coffee creamer. Thank you. I’m sure it is amazing as bread pudding too. I’ll try to not eat it all next time and actually do the whole recipe.
Jean PriestNovember 20, 2020 at 10:36 am
Can you use “the Neat Egg” in place of Ener-G Egg Replacer?
Susan VoisinNovember 20, 2020 at 11:51 am
I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work.
SarahDecember 23, 2020 at 12:44 pm
I have now made this twice—once for Thanksgiving and just now for an early Christmas treat. It’s delicious! I’ve made two changes both times: (1) I don’t add raisins—neither of us are huge raisin fans— and (2) I use a hard cider for the sauce. This second time, I also cut the maple syrup and brown sugar in half in the bread pudding liquid—we’ve found that our sugar tolerance has decreased significantly since we’ve started eating a vegan diet this past summer. I just ate a piece, and it’s still plenty sweet and totally delicious!