When Maryjane Mashunkashey dished out her Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Bread Pudding to her friends, The French Hens, she had them cooing like little turtledoves at the exact moment the first bite was taken.

Let me testify this dessert is so beautiful, so rich, so very decadent, and so deliriously satisfying , I feel it would be down- right shameful not to serve it this Thanksgiving. I promise there won’t be a living soul sitting at your table who won’t swoon for seconds.

Forget the Turkey and Just Pass Me the Pudding

4 large eggs, 2 (15 0z.) cans pumpkin, 1 ½ cups milk, 1 cup half and half, 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 loaf of French bread cut into 1 inch pieces (about 10 cups), ½ cup toasted pecans.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and the next 9 ingredients until well blended. Add bread pieces, stirring to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 8 to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fold toasted pecans into the mixture. Spoon into 11 ( 6 oz.) ramekins. They will be completely full and mixture will mound slightly. Place on an aluminum foil lined jelly roll pan. Bake for 50 minutes, being sure to shield with foil after 30 minutes.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the caramel sauce. 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup packed brown sugar,1/2 cup butter,1 Tbsp. light corn syrup, 1 tsp. vanilla. Heat the pecans in a med. skillet over med/low heat. Stir often for 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted. Cook butter, sugar, syrup in large saucepan over med. heat until sugar dissolves.( 3 or 4 minutes) Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pecans. Remove pudding from the oven, drizzle with sauce. Bake 5 more minutes until sauce begins to bubble.

*You may also bake this in a 13 x 9 pan.