This decadent dessert is perfect year-round, using dried cherries or fresh Bing cherries, depending on the season.
Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan (like Pyrex), dust the inside with sugar and tap out the excess.
Line a larger roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Spread one side of each slice of bread with the cherry butter, then cut each slice on the diagonal to get 4 triangles. Cover the bottom of the baking pan with half of the bread, arranging the triangles, buttered side up, so that they overlap slightly. Sprinkle the dried or fresh cherries and finish "the sandwich" with the rest of the bread.Sprinkle the dried or fresh cherries and finish "the sandwich" with the rest of the bread. Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and the 3/4 cup sugar. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in about one quarter of the hot milk mixture--this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining milk. Add the vanilla and whisk to blend. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then spoon off any foam that has risen to the top. Pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help it absorb the liquid. Leave the pan on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for about 30 minutes.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Put the baking pan in the roasting pan, slide the setup into the oven and very carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan.
Bake the pudding for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.