1 cup maple syrup
approx. 13 oz dense white artisan bread such as
a sour dough baguette
2 tbs butter
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole pecan halves
Line a large loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a small pot, heat maple syrup over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer until reduced by half. Place pot in a cold water bath to cool thickened syrup somewhat (to prevent it curdling the eggs).
Slice bread and butter one side of each slice. Place slices in a large bowl and set aside. Then, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and brown sugar. Pour egg mixture over bread and let soak for five minutes. Layer 1/2 of the bread slices in the bottom of a large loaf pan. Top with 1/2 of the pecans and drizzle with 1/2 of the maple reduction. Repeat with remaining bread, pecans and syrup.
Place bread pan in baking dish and fill second dish with hot tap water, half way up the side of the bread pan. Place in a 300F oven and bake for about an hour and a half. Remove from oven and leave in the water bath another half hour. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Turn out pudding and slice. Place slices on a hot, lightly buttered griddle, and cook each side until lightly golden.