5 1/2 – 7 1/2 cups 1-inch bread cubes (depending on type of bread)*
7 large eggs
2 cups milk (any kind)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup pumpkin BUTTER (or 1/2 cup pumpkin puree)*
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar for topping
nuts, like pecan or walnuts (optional)
Cut any kind of bread into 1-inch cubes – I recommend a crusty, whole grain variety, but sandwich bread will work, too. Just use enough slice to fill a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish quite full.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, pumpkin butter and pie spice until well combined. Pour over bread and push down with a spoon or your hands until it’s all soaked and mostly covered. Cover with saran wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover and top with brown sugar, additional pumpkin pie spice and nuts (optional). Bake for 35-45 minutes or golden brown and no longer wet.
Serve immediately with maple syrup, honey or agave nectar. Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered for up to a couple days.
* For the bread cubes, just use as much bread as it takes to fill the bottom of your dish generously, plus up about 1 to 1.5 inches. If you’ve added too much to soak up the liquid, just remove some. And if it looks too wet, add some more bread.
* I HIGHLY recommend using pumpkin butter as it has a concentrated pumpkin flavor and is much sweeter than puree. But if using puree instead of butter, it’s important to compensate the flavor by adding a bit more puree, pumpkin pie spice, and a little agave nectar, brown sugar or maple syrup to the batter. Otherwise, it will lack that delicious fall, pumpkin flavor you’re going for.
* I used 2%, but use skim or low-fat for a lighter recipe. Alternatively, use non-dairy such as soy or almond.