WHO: Cynthia Beaulieu, 40, business consultant and mother of two "wonderfully adventurous eaters."
WHAT: Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce and Cinnamon Whipped Cream.
ABOUT THE RECIPE: Unable to spend Thanksgiving with family one year, Cynthia and her children were invited to a potluck. "I was asked to bring a dessert but someone else was bringing my family standby, pecan pie, so I decided to find something a little nontraditional for our unusual gathering that year. When I ran across this recipe it seemed like the perfect fit between the traditional pumpkin and whipped cream and the nontraditional bread pudding and caramel. . . . I've altered a few things here and there, as I tend to do with all my favorite dishes, and every time it's been a success."
TIPS FOR OTHERS: Use croissants for the bread pudding rather than French or Italian bread. "It makes for a rich buttery base that I highly recommend. In addition, I tend to go a little heavy on the spices, so my quantities listed should all have a plus symbol after them."
CAN'T COOK WITHOUT: "While I don't use a great deal of salt, I only use kosher salt when I do. It dissolves better than table salt and has a nice flavor, a must for any cook."
THE COOK SAYS: "I tell my daughter that cooking is a combination of math, science and art. Experimenting with the ratios presents beautiful opportunities for creativity!"
B Buckberry Joyce, Times staff writer
Signature Dish is published periodically in Taste. If you have a recipe that you would like featured or would like to nominate other home cooks and their dishes, please e-mail the information to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a name and daytime phone number. Include SIGNATURE DISH in the subject line. Nominations can be mailed to Taste, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.