Chef Zachary Dickerson of Cerulean has recently served up this winner for a few events and it is absolutely my favorite bread pudding recipe.
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water (just enough to help the sugar melt)
½ cup heavy cream (room temperature)
¼ cup butter (room temperature)
Splash of bourbon (roughly 2 tablespoons)
Pinch of salt
1 loaf of thick-cut Texas toast (or any white bread)
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup dried red currants
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Caramel Sauce: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat without stirring until sugars begin to caramelize and darken. Watch closely as the sugar can go from perfect to burnt rather quickly. Once the sugar reaches a nice amber color, remove from heat and slowly whisk in room temp heavy cream (careful, the hot sugar will sizzle and pop). Whisk in butter. Finish with bourbon and salt, and mix until fully incorporated.
For the Bread Pudding: Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut or tear bread into roughly one-inch pieces and add to the baking dish. Combine eggs, sugar, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until well mixed. Slowly drizzle the butter into the mixture while whisking. Pour mixture over bread and gently fold in pecans and currants, making sure the bread is soaked.
Bake at 350 for roughly 35-40 minutes or until the bread pudding has started to brown and springs back when pressed.