Arizona Vacation and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Caramel Rum Sauce

Thursday, May 3, 2012
 Here is a dessert we fell in love with on our vacation. I couldn't wait to get home to duplicate it since we didn't have but a mere taste. You will have to read to the end for the recipe. We just love the flavors of this one. Of course you can save it and wait till fall when pumpkin is popular. I just found a reason for pumpkin to be popular all year long with this one!

Isn't it a shame how fast time goes by on vacation? Well I am back to share some of the highlights of our trip with you. Sit back and enjoy the views. I have also included the link backs to the resorts, if you ever get a chance to visit Scottsdale, I would highly recommend these two resorts.
We woke up to ducks, rabbits and road runners every morning.
They greeted us on our walks to our breakfast at the Fairmont in Scottsdale everyday we were there, so tame.

We had a beautiful fireplace in our Villa. The Fairmont is a 5 star Resort..

The grounds are quite lovely, very cool in the morning. Hot in the afternoon, cool dry and no humidity all day. Florida was 72% humidity this day, Arizona was 14%. Amazing difference. The only bad thing was my nose felt dry and on fire. Not use to that dry heat. As hot as it was during the day, it was tolerable. It cools down nicely at night to around 60 degrees.

I had never seen so many Cactus plants in my entire life!

Some Cactus are older than 150 years like this one!

Down by the pond were baby chicks

Lucky for me I have relatives in Arizona, Lorraine, Tom and their children live in Phoenix. Since my husband won this trip through high performance at work most of the trip was planned out for us. We had a free day  picked us up to visit their home. It was a short drive around 20 minutes. When we got there (Lorraine my mother's sister's daughter) had a huge spread of fabulous food waiting for us. Lorraine being Italian, went all out. We were stuffed with the best food, wine and great conversation. A very memorable highlight of our trip. We were so glad to see them again, it had been many years since they moved away from Florida and this was a real treat!

Her menu consisted of mushroom garlic pizza, shrimp ceviche avocado salad, baked ribs, chile cheese rice, potato salad and a delicious chocolate with chocolate chips cake. Everything was fabulous!  She made everything for me special without onions with my new Southwest food at it's finest! Thank you so much for the warm hospitality and feast you gave us! Lorraine is a fantastic cook and of course she's Italian! 

That's me with their grandchildren, ( their son and daughterinlaw gorgeous children). Kate is holding her new 3 month old brother  Theo with grandma Lorraine. Tough to have so little time. We had a wonderful Saturday afternoon with them that flew by in an instant! Thanks again for making our trip so special Lorraine and Tom... we so appreciated it! We enjoyed the grandchildren.

This is the pool at the Sanctuary Camel Back Mountain Resort where were bused as a group for dinner that Saturday night.
The mountains in the background and view were just breathtaking.

We had several appetizers, one being a tomato bisque soup.

 A fresh homemade pasta with sausage and cheese sauce, grilled chicken with sweet peppers, topped with ricotta cheese. 

 Ricotta gnocchi with marscapone cheese, black pepper parmesan sauce.

Anthony Scuderi was our gracious chef this Saturday evening, look at that smile a true sign of one who loves what he does. He did a marvelous job cooking all these gourmet Italian dishes. Anthony told me most of the sauces had onions in them which I couldn't eat being so allergic, I told him he must be Sicilian using onions in everything, he said oh yes I am, look at that enthusiasm, if you're ever out this way tell him Claudia sent you, he'll take care of you!
 They went out of their way to make me a plate of anything I wanted without onions.
Amazing customer service with all the staff here. The food was superb with impressive presentation.
Just a few feet away there was a wedding ceremony taking place, it was just lovely.
A gorgeous place to have photo's taken with this breath taking view.
Merlot Prime Rib with a garlic and rosemary crust everyone raved over this one! We had a wonderful evening. As always they go by way to fast. We are now on to the last day of our stay.

These were the many associates that also won, we got to meet a lot of great folks on this trip, as the night closes, we were all very content, full and ready for the next adventure after a short sleep when we get back from this short bus ride. Got ready at 5:30 am to be bused out to the desert for some more fun!

Sunday our last day of our vacation we had an outing in the Desert. Oh boy was this ever fun. Tom cars lined up for all of us and my what a wild ride through the desert. We kicked up some dust for two hours and had a dusty desert bumpy ride plus got to enjoy the mountain view.

Almost towards the end of our Tom car ride we stopped for some water and found this area that had a small outlet of water.

The desert is kind of scary to me, I was always looking for that rattlesnake... lucky for me I didn't see any since I am scared to death of them not to mention scorpions too!
Needless to say I got home and planted Cactus in my front yard (smile) Arizona inspired me!

One of the restaurants we ate at was too dark to take photo's but if you do ever go to Arizona, try
The Mission" for great Southwest food. We had many appetizers like crispy cola pork for starters along with guacamole and chips we just loved the street corn! The entree was seared scallops, fillet, sweet potato fries, asparagus there was so much food.

A very busy place! We were so bummed out that they ran out of the parade of desserts. The best dessert on that menu, pumpkin bread pudding, it was a insanely delicious. We all got to try a tablespoon of it.  I decided to recreate that dessert today and it came out delicious. Obviously not their recipe but close enough. The hot caramel rum sauce makes it super special! You will just have to hold on to this one for later in the fall but we just had to have more of this delicious dessert now!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Caramel Rum Sauce

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 cups whipping cream or whole milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 vanilla bean seeds scraped or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups of cinnamon bread cubes, cinnamon raisin bread 
dash of pumpkin pie spice
Aluminum pan lightly oiled sprayed.

Break bread cubes up and place in the bottom of aluminum lightly oiled sprayed pan. Beat eggs, cream, sugars and vanilla with spice together.

Pour over bread cubes and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime make the caramel rum sauce.
Bake the bread pudding at 350 for at least 45 minutes to an hour (depending how thick you make it) or until the custard has set.

 Caramel Rum sauce:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup rum
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn burner to medium low and let sauce bubble for 3-4 minutes. Serve warm drizzled over the bread pudding.

Caramel Rum Sauce 2:

Easy Version:

Unwrap  15 caramels and place them in a glass measuring cup. Add 2 tablespoon of rum and 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk. Microwave 2 minutes stir and pour over the bread.

Try some of these other Southwest Recipes:

Southwest Soup
Tequilla Lime Grilled Shrimp
Grilled Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken and Vegetables
Southwest Crockpot Corn Pudding
Southwest Salad Potatoes
Southwest Sausage Cheddar Scones
Southwest Arizona Vacation and Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Southwest Tequilla Chicken
Homemade Flour Tortilla
Grilled Filled Avocado's


  1. What beautiful pictures and lovely views :) This pudding is very tempting ^_^ Bye, have a great day

  2. The bread pudding looks so good. It looks like you had a great holiday. I've never been to Arizona but is sure does look beautiful. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Glad to see you had a great time. I used to have to go to Scotsdale for work. Beautiful scenery around there if you head in the direction of the Grand Canyon. Your Pumpkin Bread Pudding sounds amazing.

  4. It looks like you really enjoyed your visit to Arizona. Great scenery and I am glad you shared some of the highlights.
    Also, the bread pudding looks amazing. I have one lonely can of pumpkin, so this recipe would be perfect. Hard to resist with the caramel and rum.

  5. What a fantastic trip! The desert is a beautiful and strange place :) I have 2 cans of pumpkin kicking around still, the pudding sounds delicious!

  6. Sounds and looks like a delightful trip ~ wonderful photography ~thanks, namaste, ^_^

  7. You must have had a great holiday!I like all the pictures and I hope to to visit Arizona one day. Looks so different and interesting. Nice to visit your relatives too, it makes a holiday much more special. Ciao cara.

  8. Oh wow, everything looks amazing. You must have had such a wonderful time :) And mmmm that bread pudding is calling my name.

  9. Sounds like you had a lovely time. I like your little cactus. The pumplin bread pudding looks delish and that rum caramel sauce is calling out to me.

  10. You made me miss Arizona! We used to find scorpions hiding in our shoes - had to shake them out every morning. The bread pudding is delectable! I could eat pumpkin all year long.

  11. What a great vacation you had! I love all the photos - thank you for sharing them. The food looked pretty amazing, too, especially the pumpkin dessert. We're headed to coastal Maine in August and I am counting the days. Gotta love vacations! :)

  12. wow...wat a fantastic post...lovely writeup with fascinating cliks..
    LOVE it..:)
    thanks for sharing..
    Tasty Appetite

  13. Dear Claudia, Thank you for sharing your photos. I really enjoyed them. You look wonderful. I am so happy for you that everything went well.
    The pumpkin bread pudding certainly is perfect for all year round.
    Happy to have you back safe and sound. Blessings, Catherine xoxo

  14. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure. It felt like I was there with you. Hugs and thank you for joining in the hop fun xo

  15. Wow, what an awesome trip! The scenery is just breath-taking! I love that huge cactus :) And that prime rib....hollllly moooollllyy!! My mouth is salivating so badly right now ha ha! Thanks for sharing your awesome adventure, and this awesome pumpkin bread pudding, it looks delicious!

  16. Beautiful photos of obviously a memorable vaction :D
    But I think this pudding will also make history too - looks amazing especially with that sauce!

    Choc Chip Uru

  17. Wow - loved these photos. Thanks so much for sharing. You look great! I have been to Arizona - once driving through to our destination and home in Panama. It was so hot that day that I'm sure one could have fried an egg on the pavement practically. lol I liked Sedona. We slept overnight near the Grand Canyon - there had been a recent fire which I thought was so sad; hate to see that. That is an ENORMOUS cactus!!

  18. Looks like you had an awesome time, I am so glad!!


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