Warm from the oven, softly scented with cinnamon, this is one of my favorite cool weather desserts. It s a perfect way to use up left over bread and those sweet and juicy pears that may have become a bit past their prime. If you have day old pastries or croissants, cut those up and add them to the mixture! The bourbon sauce is a classic addition if you so choose, but the pudding will certainly stand on its own!

(Serves 8-10)

4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups half and half
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (or you may substitute raw cane sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups day old bread cubes (about 3/4 inch)
1 cup diced ripe pear
Bourbon Sauce (see below)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs with the half and half, melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Place the bread cubes and diced pear in a large bowl and add the egg mixture. Toss to mix well.

Butter a medium casserole dish and pour the bread mixture into it. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes to an hour or until set in the center.

Bourbon Sauce: (If you so choose)
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup bourbon

In a saucepan over medium heat, blend the butter and the sugar for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks to the hot mixture. This will cook them sufficiently. Gradually add the bourbon, stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

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