FRENCH BREAD PUDDING WITH MAPLE SAUCE AND THE BIG O
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly paced brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
½ cup rum
¼ cup The Big O
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and thinly diced
1cup raisins and/or dried cranberries
1 day-old French baguette, or 5 regular size croissants, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream for whipping
Boiling water, as needed
Maple Sauce: 1-cup maple syrup; juice of ½ lime; 2 tablespoons The Big O; 2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter.Add the milk, 2 cups cream, vanilla, rum, The Big O, pears, and raisins.Gently stir with the bread and let stand until mixture is completely absorbed by bread, at least 2 hours or overnight.In a small bowl, whip 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Butter the inside of the loaf pan or spray with Pam.Transfer the bread mixture to the pan.Place the pan in a larger baking pan and pour boiling water into baking pan to reach halfway up sides of loaf pan.Bake the bread pudding until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients for the sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through; keep warm. To serve, remove pudding from oven and cool slightly.Cut pudding into slices. Top each serving with a spoonful of warm maple sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.