I made this recently for my daughter's wedding breakfast. Everyone raved about it and my daughter's mother-in-law loved it and she typically doesn't like bread pudding. This is a New Orleans style recipe that I got from a friend. I made it the night before and I made the sauce that morning. We warmed the bread pudding in the microwave before adding the warm sauce. I was very skeptical about adding the rum, but it was truly wonderful, the best bread pudding that I've ever tasted. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9 X 13 baking dish and set aside. Cut bread into cubes and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the eggs and whisk until broken up and fairly smooth. Add sugar and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add vanilla, spices and melted butter, whisk well. Add rum (I use Bacardi light rum) and whisk. Add Half and Half and whisk. Stir in raisins.
Add bread to mixture and stir lightly to coat. Place a large plate or bowl over the bread mixture to weigh down the bread and keep it in the liquid. Let soak for about 20 minutes.
Pour into prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and keep covered while making sauce.
HOT BUTTERED RUM SAUCE: In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add milk to butter and stir well.
Mix cornstarch and sugar and stir to remove lumps. Add to milk mixture and continue cooking over low to medium low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Do not boil!
Add molasses into the rum and stir to dissolve. Quickly stir into the thickened sauce. Serve with the warm bread pudding.