Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or 170° for fan ovens).
Grease a baking dish anywhere from 8 inches square to 13 x 9 inches with some of the butter.
If using raisins or dried fruit, I recommend soaking them in brandy, bourbon, rum or liqueur (or juice if you are teetotal). To speed up the process, simply place the dried fruit in a microwave safe container and cover with the liquor. Cover the container and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.
Make sandwiches with the bread, butter and jam or preserves.
Cut the sandwiches in halves, quarters or triangles, depending on the size of the bread, and layer in the baking dish.
If using dried fruit, sprinkle it over the bread now along with any of the remaining liquor, letting the fruit fall down between the bread OR sprinkle the bread with up to 3 tablespoons of brandy, bourbon, rum or your favourite liqueur. Either is optional.
Put the egg yolks, the egg and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl and whisk together.
Add the cream and milk and whisk some more.
Carefully pour the custard over the bread.
Leave to soak for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour in the fridge. (Let the pudding warm up a bit out of the fridge before placing the baking dish in the oven.)
Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with your chosen spice(s) and sprinkle over top of the bread and custard.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the custard has set but still has a bit of softness to it. Timing will depend on the size of your baking dish.
Allow to sit of about 10 minutes before serving as the custard will be very hot.
Serve as it is, or with cream, more custard or ice cream.