I made this dessert especially for a friend with Celiac's disease, who cannot have wheat or gluten in the diet. There are several brands of gluten free bread available in groceries and health food stores, so feel free to experiment with different kinds. I used a cinnamon-raisin bread by Udi's.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish.
Warm the half & half over medium heat; add the raw sugar and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until well-blended.
Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Peel the apples if desired, and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix with the bread cubes.
Slowly whisk the half & half into the beaten eggs, and add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the bread pudding mixture to the greased baking dish. Press down the bread cubes to help them be covered with liquid as much as possible.
Bake until the custard is set and the top is nicely browned, about 45 minutes. Let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. Scoop the pudding into individual dishes and spoon 2 tablespoons rum sauce over each.
In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, butter, and rum. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil gently until thickened, about 10 minutes.
NOTE: I used Udi's Cinnamon Raisin Gluten Free Bread for this recipe, but any brand of a good gluten free bread will work just as well.