Vanilla sauce: in a small saucepan, over direct heat, bring 1 cup milk with cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla to a boil but just until bubbles form around edge. Remove from heat.
In the top of a double boiler, with an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat 4 egg yolks until thick. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar, beating until soft peaks form when beaters are raised. Add hot milk mixture. Place over hot water (water in the lower part of the double boiler should not touch the upper part). Cook, stirring until coating forms on metal spoon - about 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour into a bowl and put a sheet of waxed paper on the surface. Refrigerate 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Trim crusts from the bread and cut in half diagonally. Drain cherries. Turn cherries onto the bottom of a buttered 2 quart 8 inch square baking dish. Overlap bread slices on top.
Custard: In a small saucepan over direct heat, heat the milk until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat whole eggs and egg yolks until light and foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time.
Beat until well-blended. Gradually pour the hot milk, beating constantly. Add vanilla, mixing well. Pour custard over bread and cherries mixture in baking dish. Set baking dish very carefully in a large shallow pan on the lower rack of the oven. Carefully pour hot water to 1 inch level around dish.
Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Remove to rack to cool. To serve, spoon sauce over individual servings
Contributor: D. Bestis
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