Bread Pudding with Hot Caramel Sauce

Serves 8-12

INGREDIENTS

Pudding

7 cups fresh or stale white bread (crusts removed) cut into 1 inch cubes

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup melted butter

1 cup toasted pecans

4 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup brown sugar packed

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups half and half

2 cups whole milk

Grated nutmeg

Caramel Sauce

½ cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup evaporated milk

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Toast pecans: Place whole or pecan halves on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree F oven for about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Roughly chop and set aside.

Place bread in a buttered 9x13x2 glass baking dish. Sprinkle raisins and toasted pecans over the bread, then drizzle on melted butter; set aside. In a large mixer, beat the eggs until broken up, then blend in the sugars, nutmeg and vanilla. Add the half and half and milk – do not over beat. Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and let soak for 15 minutes, gently patting the bread into the milk mixture. Sprinkle top with nutmeg. Bake the pudding for 55 minutes, checking after 40 minutes to make sure that the pudding is not getting too brown. If it is, cover the pudding with foil. Bake pudding until it is puffy all over and golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool.

While the pudding is baking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together, whisking as mixture cooks. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the salt, vanilla and evaporated milk. To serve, cut the pudding in squares and top each serving with the warm caramel sauce. The sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.

Source: Marcia Adams – New Recipes from Quilt Country – 1997