5 cups Brioche or challah ( lightly toasted & cubed)
3 cups half & half
3 cups heavy cream
1.25 cups sugar
1 pinch salt
1.25 cups dried cranberries
1 each vanilla bean( or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
3/4 cup pecans lightly toasted & chopped
1/2 cup Orange juice
2-3 ounces Your favorite bourbon ( I like Four Roses Yellow Label)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the bread cubes on a sheet tray and toast until lightly toasted about 10- 12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile place Half & half, cream, salt and Vanilla bean split and scraped of the the seeds in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Heat till bubbles start to form around edges of pan while stirring occasionally. As the mixture starts to heat stir more frequently to keep from sticking to bottom of pan, do not let boil Once the milk comes to a bare simmer remove from heat cover and let steep 10-15 minutes.
While the milk is steeping combine eggs and sugar whisk until combined and yolks begin to pale.
Slowly add warm cream mixture to eggs while whisking constantly.
Combine toasted bread to egg mixture and toss to coat and soak…While bread soaks combine bourbon, Orange juice and bourbon in a small pot and bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes and remove from heat. Drain cranberries and reserve 1/3 for garnish along with liquid.
Add pecans and 2/3 of cranberries to bread & cream mixture soaking.
Divide the mixture among 8 ramekins, custard cups, or deep baking dish. Pour any remaining custard over dishes evenly. Place ramekins in hot water bath and cook until golden brown on top about 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If baking in a dish cook 60-70 minutes.
Once done serve hot, warm, or cold with remaining cranberries & juices spooned over top & whipped topping or Ice cream.