1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
BEAT the eggs, using a hand mixer, in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large glass or nonreactive bowl. Slowly beat in the sugar, then beat in the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract. Beat in the mashed sweet potatoes until thoroughly combined, then beat in the butter.
ADD the milk, beating until all of the ingredients are completely and thoroughly incorporated. If using a stand mixer, transfer the custard base to a large glass or nonreactive bowl.
MIX the bread cubes and raisins, using your hands, into the custard base. Cover and refrigerate the mixture overnight.
HEAT the oven to 275° shortly before baking. Thoroughly stir the mixture, making sure there are no white spots of unsoaked bread (it is fine if the soaked bread breaks down somewhat as you stir), and check to see that the raisins are evenly distributed.
POUR the mixture into a lightly buttered 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Lightly scatter and press the pecans onto the top of the pudding.
BAKE the pudding until it has puffed and the custard is set in the center, about 70 to 90 minutes. Remove the pudding to a rack to cool for 2 hours before serving.
Makes about 3 cups.
2 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
HEAT the corn syrup, rum and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat to a simmer. Remove from heat and, using a whisk, vigorously beat in the softened butter. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Nutrition information: Per each of 16 servings: 735 calories, 10 grams protein, 104 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 32 grams fat, 15 grams saturated fat, 161 milligrams cholesterol, 61 grams sugar, 272 milligrams sodium.