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This recipe is based on one found in The Neely's Celebration Cookbook. The variations are things I've experimented with and had success. It is easily doubled.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 5 cups cubed stale brioche bread or 5 cups challah
- 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1⁄2 cup whole milk (I use skim- works out fine)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Bourbon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- freshly whipped cream
- Butter a 9x9 baking dish and put bread in it. Sprinkle with pecans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together half-and-half, milk, eggs, butter, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
- Pour the custard mixture over the bread and stir to coat evenly. Let the pudding sit for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until puffy and set. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.
- Serve with fresh whipped cream.
- Variations: add one large chopped apple (try: Cameo, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Jonathan, or Rome); one large sliced banana; or 1/2 cup golden raisins. I think blueberries might be good, too, but I haven't tried that yet.
- Note: If your bread is fresh, toast it for 8-10 minutes on a baking sheet before you begin.