Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add bread, tossing gently to coat. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil; chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place dish in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve each bread pudding piece warm with about 1 tablespoon syrup and 1 1/2 teaspoons pecans.
Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.