Diplomatic Bread Pudding

1 loaf stale Cuban Bread, about 4 cups
4 cups milk
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons water
3 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/4 cup chopped and well-drained fresh oranges
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped raisins

Crumble the bread into a large mixing bowl, pour the milk over it and let stand 1 hour. Meanwhile, have a 2-quart baking dish warming in a 200-degree F. oven.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, place 1/2 cup of the sugar, the butter, and the water. Stir until the mixture begins to bubble and turn a caramel-brown color. Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the hot caramel into it. Roll the caramel around the dish to coat the sides. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven up to 325 degrees F. In another medium-size mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, and the vanilla. Stir the beaten eggs into the bread mixture. Add the oranges, almonds, and raisins. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour. Cool slightly before serving, or cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refigerator before serving.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Good with Caledonian Cream.

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