This is adapted from a 19th century recipe published in the Farnsworth House cookbook (the Farnsworth House is a ca.1830s home, now a restaurant and pub, in Gettysburg, PA). I've adapted it somewhat, and now it's my go-to brunch sweet dish. I love it with bacon and apple butter. —Kayb
Cube bread (you can remove crusts, or not, as you choose). Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with non-stick spray, and scatter half the bread cubes in the bottom.
Remove cream cheese from freezer and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. It really works better if the cheese is very, very cold, or partially frozen; just don't let it get frozen hard. Scatter the cubes over the bread, and top with remaining bread cubes.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, and maple syrup. Pour over bread, pressing bread cubes down so all are submerged. Drizzle with melted butter. At this point, pudding may be refrigerated overnight, and then returned to room temperature before baking.
Bake at 350 until puffed and golden brown. Pudding will deflate after removal from oven and cooling slightly. Serve warm with apple butter or fruit preserves.
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!