This silky dessert from Larry Hayden, former pastry chef at New York City's Union Square Cafe, tastes like a cross between crème brûlée and French toast.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter an 11-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes, spread on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden. Spread evenly in the baking dish. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and maple syrup. In a medium saucepan, warm the cream until just hot to the touch. Gradually whisk the cream into the egg mixture and strain over the bread cubes. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the bread so that all of it is completely submerged in the custard. Let stand at room temperature until the bread is completely soaked, about 30 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap; cover the dish with foil. Set it in a larger roasting pan and pour hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the custard is just set. Let cool for 20 minutes, drizzle with warm maple syrup and serve.
The pudding may be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350° oven.