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Xmas Bread Pudding

9 Whole wheat bread slices
3 Egg yolks; beaten
1 1/2 c Light cream
1/3 c Sugar
1 ds Salt
1 1/2 ts Vanilla extract
2/3 c Light raisins
2/3 c Dark raisins
1/3 c Candied red cherries; halved
1 c Water

Sherry Sauce
2 Eggs; beaten
2 tb Cream sherry
1/4 ts Vanilla
1/2 c Whipping cream

Remove crusts from bread; set crusts aside for another use. Cover bread slices with paper towels and let stand overnight. For custard, in heavy med. saucepan combine 3 egg yolks, light cream, sugar and salt. Cook and stir over med. heat. Continue until mixture coats a spoon. Remove from heat; cool at once by placing pan in sink of ice water. Stir for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Cover surface with plastic wrap. In sm. bowl, combine raisins; set aside. Combine cherries. Pour only 2/3 c warm sherry over raisins; pour remaining sherry over cherries. Fold cut bread (about 9 cups) into custard until coated. Grease a 6 1/2-cup tower mold (without tube). Drain raisins and cherries, reserving sherry. Arrange 1/4 of cherries in bottom of mold; sprinkle 1/3 c raisins into mold. Add 1/4 of bread mixture. Sprinkle with 2 T. reserved sherry. Repeat layers 3 times, arranging cherries and raisins near edges of mold. Lightly press last layer with back of spoon. Pour remaining sherry over all. Cover mold tightly with foil. Set mold into 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker with liner in place. Pour 1 c water into cooker around mold. Cover; cook on low-heat about 5 1/2 hrs. or high for 3 hrs. or until pudding springs back when touched. Remove mold from slow cooker and let stand for 10 minutes. Carefully unmold onto serving platter. Serve warm with sherry sauce (below).

To Do Ahead

Remove from mold, cover and chill. Before serving, return to same mold. Cover with foil, and place in slow cooker. Then pour 1 cup of water around mold. Cook in slow cooker for 1 1/2 hours (or until warm) on high setting. Unmold and serve warm with sherry sauce.

Sherry Sauce:

In mixing bowl: combine 2 egg yolks, powdered sugar, 2 T sherry and 1/4 t. vanilla. Beat whipping in small mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into egg yolk mixture. Cover and chill until serving time. Serve warm.

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