This pudding is reminiscent of an Irish “brack,” where the fruit is first soaked in either tea or whiskey. On a recent winter visit to Dublin, I discovered this version studded with rum-soaked raisins, sultanas, and holiday fruits like dried cranberries and chopped apricots. Instead of traditional white bread, it’s made with brioche. For an extra boozy version, top it with rum-raisin ice cream. You'll find this and other holiday recipes in my new cookbook "Favorite Flavors of Ireland," out next week.
1/2 cup rum
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
3/4 loaf brioche or challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 large eggs
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Slivered almonds for topping
1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter a 9-inch baking dish or eight (8-ounce) ramekins.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine rum, orange juice, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, and apricots. Bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes; drain fruit and set aside. Discard liquid.
3. Combine bread with soaked fruits in prepared baking pan or ramekins. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, sugar, and spices. Pour custard over the bread and fruit. With a spatula, press down to be sure the bread absorbs the liquid. Let rest for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with almonds.
4. Place baking dish or ramekins in a large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pudding is set and the top is golden. Remove baking dish or ramekins from water and let cool on a wire rack. (If baking pudding in ramekins, run a knife around the side of the dishes, invert onto 8 serving plates, and return to upright.) Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.