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Bread pudding with prunes and dried apricots

Bread pudding with prunes and dried apricots
Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Alchemists have tried for centuries to transform base metals into gold -- unsuccessfully, at least as far as we know. But it's a lovely concept: Take the common and uninspiring -- lead, copper, prunes -- and change it into something ... Read more

Total time: 50 minutes | Serves 6
  • 1/2 pound pitted prunes
  • 4 ounces dried apricots
  • 1 cup good red wine or strong tea
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 ounces fresh white bread, crust removed, and broken into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Step 1To plump the prunes and apricots, place them in a medium saucepan with the wine or tea and cinnamon. Cover and simmer until the fruit is very tender and has absorbed most of the liquid, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 2Soak the bread briefly in the milk, then add it to the pan, off heat, along with the sugar, butter, orange zest, eggs and rum, if using. Stir gently to combine.

Step 3Turn the mixture into a well-buttered 1 1/2 -quart Pyrex casserole or a medium-size oval gratin dish and bake in a 375-degree oven for 15 minutes.

Step 4Sprinkle on the sliced almonds and continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until the pudding is firm and the almonds are nicely browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Note: From "New Menus from Simca's Cuisine," by Simone Beck, with Michael James. For the bread, use a good rustic French bread, such as a boule.


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