Caramel-Pecan Pumpkin Bread Puddings

Bread Puddings:
4 large eggs
2 (15-oz.) cans pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup half-n-half
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12 oz.) French bread loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)

Caramel-Pecan Sauce:
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare Bread Puddings: Whisk together eggs and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add bread pieces, stirring to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon bread mixture into 11 (6-oz.) lightly greased ramekins. (Ramekins will be completely full and mixture will mound slightly.) Place on a aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake for 50 minutes, shielding with foil after 30 minutes.

During last 15 minutes of baking, prepare Caramel-Pecan Sauce: Heat pecans in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.

Cook brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3to 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pecans.

Remove bread puddings from oven; drizzle with Caramel-Pecan Sauce. Bake 5 minutes or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.

Note: You can also make this in a 9x13-inch lightly greased baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes at 350° and uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Follow the rest above for the rest!

**Recipe adapted from Southern Living Oct. 2009