Traditionalists may not agree, but this dessert is a delicious substitute for pumpkin pie during the holidays. It's simple to make and can be prepared several days ahead, leaving just a quick reheat on the big day.
Garnet or Jewel yams work best in this recipe, as they have the best flavor and moist texture. Bread pudding is a humble dish, but you can dress this one up with vanilla ice cream, sweetened whipped cream, bourbon sauce or créme Anglaise, if you like.
Old World yams and New World sweet potatoes are indeed different vegetables. In the US today, the terms are often used interchangeably to describe popular varieties of red-skinned, orange-fleshed tubers with pointed ends. At Earthbound Farm we produce the Garnet and Jewel varieties, which are commonly called yams but are actually sweet potatoes. No matter what you call them, though, they're delicious!
Place the yams in a steamer basket and steam over boiling water until soft and tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Mash or press them through a sieve to create a smooth purée. You need 1 cup for this recipe; extra purée can be frozen.
Combine the cream and milk in a small pan and scald over medium heat.
Whisk the eggs, vanilla, sugar, spice, amaretto, raisins, and 1 cup of sweet potato purée in a small bowl. Add the hot cream and whisk to blend.
Place the bread cubes in a medium bowl and add the custard. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and set aside.
Make the streusel by combining the flour, sugar, spice, and nuts in a small bowl. Add the butter and mix to a rough crumb with your fingers.
Transfer the pudding to the prepared pan and sprinkle the streusel on top. Make a bain-marie (a water bath) by placing the 9-inch pan in a larger pan and adding hot water to halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake until the pudding is set and golden, about 45 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool before cutting into squares and serving. The dessert can be refrigerated, covered, and reheated in the microwave or in the oven at 250 degrees F, if desired.