8 -16 sliced of lightly toasted bread
3 cups milk (may substitute cream)
3/4 - 1 cup raisins or other fruit
3/4 cup sugar
1 t vanilla paste
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg (opt)
1/2 t allspice (opt)
1/3 cup wine, bourbon, sherry or other liquid
3 T butter
pinch of salt
In a pan, break up bread, you don't have to cut into perfect pieces, just tearing them is fine. Add fruit to the bread and scatter on top.
In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the bread. Let it stand for 20 minutes, push bread down and let it stand for 20 minutes more. Press bread down so it absorbs the liquid. Heat the oven to 350degrees, drop the butter in pieces of the top of the bread pudding, pop the pan into the oven and bake for 50 minutes OR up to 1 hour (top will be golden brown).
Best served warm with a whiskey sauce or a lemon sauce but equally good with whipped cream or heavy cream poured on top.
To make a Whiskey Sauce or a Brandy Sauce - add 1 stick of butter to a medium pan, add 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup bourbon, a pinch of salt, and stir until the sugar dissolves and set aside. Meanwhile add 1 large egg to the a large bowl, beat the egg to a froth and temper the eggs by adding a tablespoon of the whiskey mixture to the eggs and beating until mixed, then pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens (about a minute). Cool and pour over warm bread pudding, can sit out for up to an hour. Refrigerate sauce up to 4 days, then discard.
To make a Caramel with Sambucca Sauce - add 1 stick of butter to a medium pan, add 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup Sambucca, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste and stir until the sugar dissolves and set aside. Cool and pour over warm bread pudding, can sit out for up to an hour. Refrigerate sauce up to 4 days, then discard.
To make Chocolate Bread Pudding, add 14 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped to cream (prefer to milk with chocolate) and sugar and heat until the chocolate is melted, let it cool and proceed as above (omit cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg). Temper eggs and add to chocolate milk mixture, be sure not to let the eggs curdle. Pour mixture over bread and proceed as above soaking the bread and bake for 45 minutes @ 325 degrees. Serve with shaved chocolate, whipped cream and a warm whiskey sauce for an out of this world bread pudding.
To make Capirotada add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of cloves, replace the bourbon (spirits) with wine and replace milk/cream with water and proceed as above.
To make a Lemon Bread Pudding substitute lemon cello for the liquor or wine, omit cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and add 1 teaspoon of fresh grated lemon rind and proceed as above.
Options: Add nutmeats, add dried blueberries, dried cranberries or other fruit of your choice.