Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Maple Pecan Crunch
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene—a powerful antioxidant—which studies suggest is an important nutrient for cognitive function, especially in older adults.
When cooking nuts in the oven, they can go from raw to burnt in no time flat. Be sure to keep a close eye on them!
- 2 large sweet potatoes, about 1 lb each
- 1 (16 ounce) loaf day-old soft bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (Challah bread is best)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg whites
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups pecan halves
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp bourbon (optional)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp bourbon (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prick each sweet potato a few times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake in oven until soft, approximately one hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove skins and transfer sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork.
- Add milk, eggs, egg whites, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to sweet potatoes. Whisk until well combined. Fold in bread cubes.
- Pour bread mixture into a greased 9x13 pan and smooth top. Cover and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Stir together pecans, maple syrup, and bourbon in a large bowl. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook 12-14 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and watching carefully so that they don't burn.
- Remove from oven and move parchment paper to a cool surface. Allow pecans to cool, stirring frequently so they don't stick together. Coarsely chop.
- In a double boiler (or a bowl set over simmering water) melt butter and sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in egg, stirring vigorously to prevent egg from curdling.
- Stir in bourbon.
- Remove bread pudding from refrigerator and bake at 400 degrees F until firm and lightly browned, approximately 35-40 minutes.
- Sprinkle pecan mixture on top, pressing in gently to secure. Serve warm with whiskey sauce.