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My sister Jenny made this bread pudding for us while we visited over the holidays and let me tell you, with no exaggeration at all, that this is hands-down the ultimate bread pudding. There were a few pieces left after we ate dessert dessert and I very happily ate a slice without even adding the cream sauce the next day; the bread pudding remained moist without being a bit soggy, firm enough to slice and filled with an abundance of warm spices.
To be honest, I have never been a big fan of bread pudding. Soggy bread is rarely a good thing and it takes some effort to find a decent bread pudding at most restaurants. This Challah Bread Pudding is a game changer; I'd put this dessert up against cake, cookies, or ice cream any day of the week.
COOK'S NOTE: My first choice for this recipe is challah with raisins, although it is tasty with plain challah as well. Loaves of challah can vary greatly in size, the key here is to measure the total amount of bread cubes, you'll want approximately 12 cups worth of 1-inch bread cubes. (Sometimes, this is about 2/3 of a giant loaf of challah bread or about 1 1/2 small loaves worth.) If you wind up a little short on bread, you can substitute an alternate white bread if that's all you have in the house.