16 oz (about 8 cups) of day-old brioche or other egg bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 oz (about 2-¼ cups) Natural Delights Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
½ cup almonds, sliced
6 large eggs plus 2 additional large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ½ cups half and half
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
FOR THE BOURBON SAUCE:
2 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
¾ cup bourbon
1 pinch salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
FOR THE PUDDING
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Toss together and evenly distribute the bread cubes, Medjool dates and almonds in a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish.
Add sugar to the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture thickens and pales. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add half and half, vanilla, and nutmeg and beat until blended.
Ladle the egg mixture over the bread mixture. Let stand 15 minutes, occasionally pressing lightly on bread with wooden spoon or spatula to help the bread to absorb the liquid.
Bake the pudding for 25 minutes. Open the oven and carefully press down on the bread with a wooden spoon allowing the remaining liquid to rise. Spoon liquid evenly over the bread. Close oven and continue to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the pudding from the oven and let sit while preparing the bourbon sauce.
FOR THE BOURBON SAUCE
To prepare the bourbon sauce, combine the cream, milk, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk cornstarch and ¼-cup of bourbon in a small bowl. Pour cornstarch mixture into cream mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, add salt, stir in butter and remaining ½-cup bourbon if desired.
Lightly drizzle bourbon sauce over bread pudding. Serve into dessert bowls. Add remaining bourbon sauce to individual servings as desired.