Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

No matter what type of potluck I go to, someone always asks if I brought my bread pudding. This is comfort food at its best.

½ loaf white bread
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
¼ pound (1 stick) butter, melted
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Sauce:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

Tear bread into chunks and place in buttered 2-quart casserole. Beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add milk, butter, salt, and vanilla extract. Pour over bread. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until browned and top puffs.

To make vanilla sauce, heat water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla extract. Spoon over servings of warm bread pudding.

Yield: 8 servings