Warm pumpkin pie spices will fill your kitchen with a wonderful aroma as this is baking. Here's a make-ahead dish to bake the next morning for a mess-free breakfast or brunch.
Place bread cubes in a large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, pumpkin purée, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla until smooth. Pour over bread and gently combine.
Spoon mixture into a buttered 8-cup (2 L) shallow baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 350⁰F (180⁰C). Uncover dish and bake until golden and set, about 1 hour.
Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving with maple syrup.
Tip: Look for smaller, meatier pie pumpkins rather than the large style used for Jack O' Lanterns when cooking pumpkin for this recipe. Cooked mashed squash or sweet potato can be used in place of pumpkin.
Tip: Bread that is a day-old or a few days old, rather than fresh-baked is best for this dish to allow the pumpkin custard to soak in. If using a plan white or while grain bread, increase cinnamon to 1 tsp (5mL) and add 1/2 cup (125mL) raisins or dried cranberries.
Tip: Left over pumpkin purée can be frozen for six to eight months.