- 1 loaf challah or fruit nut bread or a mix of leftover rich and flavorful breads
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Pinch salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup marmalade or another jam of your choice
- Confectioners' sugar
Remove the crust from the loaf of bread and slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. Reserve 5 slices for the top. Cut the remaining bread into cubes.
In a saucepan, heat the half-and-half, cream, salt, and vanilla bean over medium heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. When the cream mixture reaches a fast simmer (do not let it boil), turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Whisking constantly, gradually add the hot cream mixture. Strain into a large bowl to smooth the mixture and remove the vanilla bean. Take 1/4 of the custard, pour it into a pan with walls, and soak the slices as if for French toast. Pour the remaining custard over the cubes and let soak 30 minutes, gently turning the bread over once. Fill a 2-quart souffle dish halfway with soaked bread cubes. Spoon a layer of marmalade or jam onto the soaked cubes, then top off with more bread cubes. Spoon another layer of marmalade or jam over the cubes and top with the soaked slices, overlapping them decoratively. If there is any remaining custard, pour it onto the slices to let it soak in. Let soak in the refrigerator another 30 minutes (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baking dish in a hot water bath. Bake until just set and very light golden brown on top, about 35 to 40 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar and place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes caramelize slightly. Serve warm or chilled.
Notes about the recipe: I love making all kinds of bread pudding and I really love using leftovers so this is on of my favorite recipes. I travel a lot and so stay in hotels where I come across those cute little irresistible jars of jams. They always seem to make it into my suitcase, and into my kitchen at home. This is a great way to clear the shelf of them, only to make room for the next batch, I've noticed.