Food & Drink

Can’t Get Enough of All Those Pumpkins!

While pumpkins are not native to Ireland, they’re in great demand during the autumn, especially around Halloween (also known as Samhain, one of the four ancient Celtic festivals).

In the U.S. we use pumpkins in many sweet and savory dishes, but most cooks find it more efficient to purchase canned pumpkin rather than to cut and scrape the flesh from a fresh one.

If you love pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie, you’ll adore this rich pudding made with challah bread! Top it with freshly whipped cream enhanced with mascarpone cheese. You’ll find recipes like this in my cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland (now BOGO/buy one get one free); order signed copies at

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 loaf challah bread, cut or torn into pieces
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1. Make pudding. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch glass baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, salt, vanilla, sugar, eggs, and milk until smooth. Add bread, stir to coat, and then let bread soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Transfer to prepared pan, sprinkle with pecans, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
4. Make whipped cream. In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone and continue whipping, gradually adding sugar, until stiff peaks form.
5. To serve, spoon pudding into stem glasses and top with whipped cream. (Leftover whipped cream can be refrigerated for 3 days).

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