This Bread & Butter Pudding works with any kind of bread: whole-wheat, rye, fruit and nut breads, baguette, anything. It’s also a great way to use up stale bread, instead of letting it... go to waste. To be extra frugal, you can use the crusts you trim off to make breadcrumbs. This pudding isn’t particularly sweet, but the raisins and dried apricots make it a treat. If you have a sweet tooth, add in the optional vanilla extract and it will boost the sweetness.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a non-reactive 4-cup baking dish. Set aside.
Boil a kettle of water.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl lightly beat the eggs. Beat in the milk a little at a time until it is all used up. Add the nutmeg, lemon zest, vanilla, if using, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Beat to mix. Set aside.
Cut the bread slices across into triangles – it will help you to fit them all in the baking dish. Lightly butter all the slices, and line the bottom of the dish with a single layer of bread, buttered side up. Sprinkle with the raisins and apricots. Repeat, ending with a layer of bread.
Pour the egg custard over the bread. It should almost cover the top slice without submerging it. Sprinkle the top with the remaining brown sugar and dot with butter.
Set the baking dish into another larger ovenproof dish and put into the oven. Carefully fill the ovenproof dish with the hot water so that it comes ⅓ the way up the side of the pudding dish. Bake for 45 -50 minutes or until set and a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.