Queen Ida's Bread Pudding

Course : Cajun
Serves: 8
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12 slices day old bread
4 large eggs -- lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk or heavy cream or half-n-half
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons raisins -- soaked in warm water 5 minutes and drained-- or soaked in 1/2 cup rum
1/3 cup butter -- melted

Preparation / Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Place bread on a cookie sheet and toast lightly, about 4 minutes a side, so it won't be too soggy. Break bread into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add eggs, whole milk, evaporated milk, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Drain the raisins; reserve the rum, if using, for the sauce. Stir in raisins and butter. Pour mixture into a well-greased baking dish about 11"x14"x2" (such as a lasagna pan) and bake 20 minutes. Using a fork, test a little pudding from the center to see whether it's cooked. The custard should be very slightly browned but not dry. Let cool and slice. Serve with lemon sauce or hard sauc

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