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Bread pudding with prunes and dried apricots

Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Bread pudding with prunes and dried apricots
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
1

To 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.

2

Soak 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.

3

Turn 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.

4

Sprinkle 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.

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.

Amy Scattergood is a staff writer for the Food section of the Los Angeles Times.
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