1 pound Pullman-style brioche, challah or white bread, bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
How to Make It
Step 1 make the sauce
Fill a medium bowl with ice water. In a small saucepan, heat the milk with the vanilla bean and seeds until it just comes to a simmer. Discard the vanilla bean.
Step 2 make the sauce
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and salt until the mixture is pale yellow and thickened. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the hot milk. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 7 to 8 minutes. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and set the bowl in the ice bath until cold. Cover and refrigerate the sauce.
Step 3 make the bread pudding
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and whiskey and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the whiskey.
Step 4 make the bread pudding
Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the bread cubes in an even layer. Toast the bread for about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. On another baking sheet, spread the almonds in an even layer and toast for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
Step 5 make the bread pudding
Grease a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish. In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs with the egg yolk and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until well blended. Whisk in the milk, cream, almonds, raisins, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Add three-fourths of the bread cubes, stirring to moisten. Let stand for 5 minutes, then pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Scatter the remaining bread cubes on top, pressing down gently. Brush the bread cubes with the melted butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
Step 6 make the bread pudding
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is deep golden and the custard is set. Transfer the bread pudding to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.
Step 7 make the bread pudding
Stir 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved soaking whiskey into the sauce and serve with the warm bread pudding.
The sauce (without the whiskey) can be refrigerated overnight.
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