A splash of dark rum makes Ree Drummond's boozy bread pudding all the more festive.
(Makes 12 servings)
1 loaf crusty Italian bread or other
2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
¼ cup butter, melted, plus
more for the pan
½ cup pecans
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup dark rum
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the bread into 1-inch slices. Then cut the slices into 1-inch strips and the strips into cubes. You should have 8 to 10 cups of bread cubes. To make the custard, whisk together the eggs, milk, and half-and-half. Add the vanilla and sugar. Stir it to combine. Melt the butter in the microwave and whisk it into the mixture. Generously butter a baking dish and add all the bread cubes to the pan. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Then chop the pecans pretty finely. Sprinkle the pecans all over the top. Pop it in the oven for 1 hour.
While the bread pudding is baking, make the boozy sauce. Combine the butter, sugar, cream, and rum in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. To serve, pour the rum sauce into a pitcher or gravy boat. Drizzle a little over the bread pudding right when it comes out of the oven. (Drizzle it over individual portions too!)
Sprinkle raisins on top of the bread pudding with the pecans before baking.
Use whiskey or brandy instead of dark rum.
From the November/December 2014 issue.