2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
4 large eggs
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt (or more for taste)
1 (2-pound loaf) egg bread, cut into 3/4-inch slices (about 20 slices)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Whipped cream and raw sugar or confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Butter a 10-inch springform pan and wrap the outside with aluminum foil.
Combine the milk, cream and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until warm but do not boil; remove from the heat and let mixture sit about 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and pour mixture into a large bowl. With a knife, carefully slit open the bean and scrape in the seeds. (Save the pod for future use. Barden pats it dry and puts it in superfine granulated sugar and uses that to flavor coffee.)
In a separate mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs and yolks until light and frothy. Add the granulated sugar and whisk eggs until pale and fluffy. Slowly stir a small amount of egg mixture into the cooled milk mixture; do not rush the process or the eggs will curdle. Whisk in the pumpkin, ginger and salt.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dunk each slice of bread into the egg custard and then, slice by slice, arrange slices in the springform pan, overlapping the layers. Slowly pour the remainder of the mixture into pan. You should have at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the egg mixture left. Let sit30 minutes.
Place the springform pan inside a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot tap water until it reaches about halfway up pan sides. Bake about 90 minutes until the center is firm but not hard. During the last 10 or 15 minutes, sprinkle about 1/4 cup of brown sugar on the top and raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. The finished product should have a consistency similar to a quiche. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Allow the French toast to cool about 20 minutes before sliding a knife around the edge of the pan to unmold. Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of raw sugar or dusting of confectioners' sugar.
Per serving: 625 calories (36 percent from fat), 25 grams total fat (11 grams saturated), 319 milligrams cholesterol, 81 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 657 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.
PUMPKIN RAVIOLI WITH SAGE BUTTER