- For the Pudding
- 6 – 7 cups stale bread, cut into approx. 1 inch cubes
- 3 cups milk
- 3 eggs
- ¾ C brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 4 Tbsp Butter, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 C dried cherries
- ¾ C chopped pecans
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- For the Hard Sauce
- 8 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Egg (not pictured)
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 C Sugar
- ¼ C Bourbon
- 1 pinch Salt
- Preheat the oven to 350º F and butter a 9×13 baking dish.
- Combine the milk, brown sugar and 2 Tbsp of the butter in a small saucepan and gently heat, stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved into the milk. Remove the pan from heat.
- While the milk is heating, whisk together the eggs, spices, orange juice and zest, and vanilla. Temper the egg mixture by whisking in about half the milk in small batches and then whisk the tempered egg mixture into the remaining milk. Keep whisking until the egg is thoroughly incorporated.
- Put the stale, cubed bread in a large bowl, along with the cherries and pecans, and pour the liquid over the bread. Gently stir the bread, allowing it to soak up all the liquid.
- Once the bread has absorbed as much of the liquid as it can, pour the whole thing into the prepared dish. If needed, redistribute the cherries and pecans. Dot the top of the pudding with the remaining butter and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Put the dish on a middle rack in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
- While the pudding bakes, it is a good time to put together the hard sauce. Heat the sugar, salt and butter together in a sauce pan until the sugar has completely dissolved into the butter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla and bourbon. As above, temper the egg mixture with the hot butter before whisking the egg into the saucepan. Heat the mixture gently, stirring all the while, until it thickens. Remove from the heat and let cool. If any lumps have formed, strain the sauce.
- When the pudding is browned on top and cooked through, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool. Let the pudding set up for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm with a drizzle of hard sauce.
If you need to reheat the pudding, it is best done in the oven, although a microwave will work. If the pudding is looking a bit dry when it is time to reheat, try drizzling some milk or butter over the pudding before reheating.