Rich, tender challah -- a Jewish egg bread that is usually prepared in long, braided loaves -- gives extraordinarily toothsome texture to this luscious pumpkin bread pudding souffle. If your family is not fond of Bourbon, feel free to skip the Easy Bourbon Molasses Sauce and drizzle servings of souffle with caramel ice cream topping.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat six 10-ounce ramekins or custard cups with the 1 to 2 tablespoons softened butter; sprinkle lightly with the 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Place ramekins in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. Remove and discard the bottom and side crusts from challah. Cut challah into small cubes (about 4-1/2 cups). Place cubes in a large bowl; set aside.
In a small saucepan bring half-and-half to simmering over low heat. Pour 1 cup of the warm half-and-half over the challah cubes; stir gently. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat the 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and egg yolks until combined. Beat in pumpkin and the remaining half-and-half. Add soaked challah cubes to the pumpkin mixture; fold in gently.
Wash beaters thoroughly. In another large mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add the 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold beaten egg whites gently into the challah mixture. Spoon mixture evenly into the prepared ramekins.
Bake about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. Serve warm with Easy Bourbon Molasses Sauce. Souffles will fall slightly as they cool.
Easy Bourbon Molasses Sauce
In a small saucepan combine sugar, butter, water, molasses, egg yolks, and salt. Cook and whisk over medium heat until thick and mixture just comes to a boil. Strain sauce into a 4-cup glass measure. Stir in bourbon (mixture will foam). Serve warm. Cover and chill any remaining sauce. To reheat, place in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50 percent power (medium) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.