Bourbon & Maple Bread & Butter Pudding
250ml double cream, 200ml milk, 1 vanilla pod, 75g butter plus extra for greasing, 1 loaf old baguette, chalah or other spongey bread roughly 415g, 150g pecans, 4 large eggs, 200g light soft brown sugar, plus 1 tbsp, 100ml maple syrup, 3 tbsp Whiskey Thief Bourbon.
For the sauce
75 g butter, 150 g light soft brown sugar, 1 tbsp Whiskey Thief, 50 ml double cream
1. Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod down its length and scrape out all the seeds into the saucepan. Throw in the empty pod for good measure and heat very gently, stirring occasionally.
2. When the milk is at the point of boiling, remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
3. Butter a 2 litre shallow ovenproof dish. Put the remaining butter in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat; set aside.
4. Carefully cut the crusts off the bread and cut the bread into roughly 2cm chunks you should end up with around 250g. Put the bread in the buttered dish.
5. Break roughly half the pecans in half and scatter over the bread. Add the rest of the nuts whole. Toss the bread with the pecan nuts. Drizzle with the melted butter and set aside.
6. Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs in a large bowl with the sugar, maple syrup and bourbon, if using, for five minutes until pale and thick.
7. Strain the warm cream mixture through a sieve onto the eggs and whisk well. Pour slowly over the bread. Leave the pudding to stand for an hour at room temperature or cover and chill in the fridge overnight.
8. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar over the pudding and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes until deep golden brown and slightly risen.
9. While the pudding is baking, make the butterscotch sauce.
10. For the butterscotch sauce: put the butter and sugar in a small pan and melt together over a low heat until smooth, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon until smooth.
11. Bring to a simmer then carefully stir in the bourbon or whiskey, taking care not to get splashed by the hot caramel, followed by the cream, stirring continuously as the bubbles subside.
12. Cook for a minute or so until smooth and creamy, stirring. Pour into a small jug. Serve the pudding hot with whipped cream or ice cream and the butterscotch sauce for pouring.