BREAD PUDDING WITH CARAMEL SAUCE

1 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup bourbon

16 cups of cubed day old bread

4 ounces melted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

8 large eggs

In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the bourbon.

Place the bread crumbs in a large bowl and drizzle the melted butter on them. Mix the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon together and sprinkle over the bread tossing to distribute evenly. Heat the heavy cream, 1 cup sugar and the remaining cinnamon over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let this mixture boil! Place the eggs in a bowl and slowly whisk in the warm cream. Pour the cream over the bread, mix in the raisins, and allow to stand for 45 minutes to an hour. You will know when it is ready when the bread cubes are no longer dry in the center. Mix a couple of times during stand time.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish and pour in the bread mixture. Place the dish in a larger baking pan and place in oven. Carefully pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 1 hour or until the center is set and a knife tip comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand until the inner pan can safely be removed from the outer pan. Serve with caramel sauce. (below)

Caramel Sauce

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons dark corn syrup

4 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces

Bring the cream and the vanilla bean to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove the bean, scrape out the tiny seeds with the tip of a sharp knife and add to the cream. Set aside

Place the sugar and corn syrup in a 3 quart saucepan and use a wooden spoon to mix the sugar and the syrup. Heat the pan to medium heat the sugar will begin to break down after 3-4 minutes. Stir once or twice mixing the undissolved sugar into the warm liquid. It will become foamy after a bit, when it does, stop stirring. Continue heating until the mixture becomes a medium brown. Whisk in the butter a little at a time and continue whisking until the mixture comes together. Remove from heat and very slowly whisk in the cream a little at a time. The caramel is extremely hot and will bubble up as the cream is added. Return the pan to the burner over low heat and stir until mixture is completely smooth. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm. This can be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator until you need to use it. You can simply reheat slowly over a low heat before serving.