Makes 16 servings
- 1 loaf Italian bread
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks)
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 5 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Place in a single layer on baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes, stirring after 6 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. In a large saucepan, heat and stir butter and sugar until bubbly. Remove from heat and add honey, cream and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Spread 1 cup of caramel mixture in the bottom of a greased 13×9×2-inch baking pan. Reserve ½ cup of caramel mixture for topping; set aside.
Whisk half-and-half into remaining caramel sauce in saucepan. Whisk eggs and salt together, then gradually add to half-and-half mixture. Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining vanilla. Fold in toasted bread and let soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Pour bread mixture over caramel sauce in baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is crisp and pudding is almost set. Cool for 30 minutes. To serve right away, cut into 16 squares. Reheat reserved caramel sauce in a saucepan over low heat and drizzle over top.