Years ago some "bakerish" store I used to frequent (maybe Sunrise Bakery in Walnut Creek) used to make a delicious (if you like bread pudding) bread pudding with dried apricots and blueberries...it was way better than the "regular" kind of bread pudding with raisins...although I love that too...especially at Mimi's...but I've always been on the lookout for the apricot kind...
Having some of those good Trader Joe's slab apricots tucked away in my pantry it occurred to me the other day that wonder of wonders I could now "Google" the recipe...this is why the Internet was created,right?
At any rate, I found numerous possibilties and, drawing on that hard to describe "recipe intuition" instinct, came up with this recipe, which is quite delectible (again only if you are one of those people who consider a big bowl of bread pudding just this side of heaven, only surpassed perhaps by a big bowl of Flan...) But I digress...of course... also no health claims are being made for this dish...other than the thought that any "comfort food" you make at home has to be way better than something you'd buy.
Apricot Bread Pudding
4 egg yolks
3 1/2 C milk
1/2 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t vanilla
5-6 C cubed bread (I used 6 slices of the Sheepherder's Bread from Safeway, trimmed of crusts and cubed into 2" pieces...some sort of french bread is better than regular soft white bread...one of those roundish loaves sliced for sandwiches)
20 (or so) quartered(use scissors) dried apricot halves (again...stay away from the "turkish" dried apricots, generally more available...they're sort of pale orange and puffy...)
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground nutmeg
Topping: 1/4 C sugar mixed with an additional 1/2 t cardamom
1 T butter cut up
Put the cubed bread and apricots in a 2 qt. casserole dish.
In a pan or in the microwave, "scald" (as we used to say) the milk(don't boil, just get it good and hot)....meanwhile...
Beat the eggs/egg yolks (I use my electric mixer because I don't want to run into any little egg stringy pieces in my custard...you could just whip madly with a wire whisk)...add the sugar, vanilla, and spices....pour the hot milk into this, mix, and pour over the bread cubes. Push the cubes down into the milk if they pop up making sure they get soaked. Sprinkle the sugar topping over this and dot with a few little dabs of butter.
Bake at 300 in a water bath (see below...set casserole in larger pan and pour some hot water around it about halfway up casserole...this keeps a crust from forming). Bake about 45 minutes, until firm in the center. Let cool on the counter...if you put it in the refrigerator right away it gets watery on top.
It seems like I've gone on and on about a really simple recipe...can you tell I really CARE about my bread pudding! I made it yesterday...Kendra came over and had some...I think Dad had some last night, Mark didn't have any...it was gone before midnight.