Unlike Hanukkah’s potato latkes and sufganiyot or Purim’s hamantaschen, there aren’t a lot of specific foods that come along with celebrating Sukkot.
Instead, Sukkot is the Jewish calendar’s poster child for seasonal eating. The holiday’s meals highlight the abundance of produce that early autumn brings: crisp apples and creamy squash, slick and heavy eggplants, sweet carrots and jewel-toned pomegranates. Many families serve foods stuffed inside of other foods (think stuffed cabbage or stuffed grape leaves) as an edible symbol of the harvest. Meanwhile, because Sukkot takes the dining room table outside just as the weather turns really brisk, warming stews, kugels, casseroles and braised meats dominate the table.
Breakfast on Sukkot, unfortunately, tends to be a little less inspired. During the week-long festival, Jews are obligated to eat their meals outside, in a sukkah. But you can’t quite capture the spirit of al fresco dining with a bowl of cereal. Enter: fig and pumpkin bread pudding.
While not a longstanding Sukkot classic, this bread pudding checks off all of the right boxes. The custard is whisked with pureed pumpkin, and a trio of fall-friendly spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger), which lends the dish a beautiful hue and rich flavor. And the pudding is threaded through with nuggets of dried fig, providing a sweet Mediterranean vibe. Topped with a scoop of yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup, it is the perfect dish to begin a cozy holiday morning in the sukkah.
Fig and Pumpkin Bread Pudding
1½ cups milk
1½ cups pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned)
4 large eggs
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
9 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old challah
1 cup thinly sliced dried black mission figs
Plain yogurt, for serving
1) Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and lightly grease a 9x9-inch square baking dish.
2) Whisk together the milk, pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger in a large bowl.
3) Add the bread cubes and figs to the prepared baking dish and toss with your fingers to evenly distribute the figs throughout. Pour the pumpkin custard evenly over the top. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake until custard is mostly set, 20 minutes. Turn heat up to 400˚ F, uncover and continue baking until the bread pudding puffs and turns golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm, topped with yogurt and additional maple syrup.