Turn a pandoro loaf into a creamy, yet remarkably light pandoro bread pudding. Add a drizzle of warm bourbon sauce for a perfect finish.Bread pudding adapted from Ina Garten, "Panettone Bread Pudding"; Warm Bourbon Sauce adapted, barely, from Bon Appetit, September 1999
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish.
Trim off the thick, dark edges on the pandoro and cut the remaining loaf into 1-inch cubes. Spread in a single layer on two baking sheets, and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Toss bread cubes with raisins and chestnuts (if using) and place in prepared baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, half and half, sugar, and vanilla. Slowly pour the mixture over the bread cubes, gently pressing with a spatula to help the liquid absorb. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Make a bain-marie (water bath) by placing the baking dish in a large roasting pan and filling the pan with enough steaming water to reach halfway up the dish's sides. Cover the roasting pan with foil and cut a few vent holes with a sharp knife.
Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 40 - 45 minutes, until bread pudding is lightly browned and custard is set. Cool for about 15 minutes, dust with powdered sugar, and serve with warm bourbon sauce.
Make the Warm Bourbon Sauce
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, heavy cream, bourbon, and salt. Return to medium-low heat and simmer, whisking, until thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Cool slightly and serve.