Pear & Apricot Bread Pudding

Yield: 24 servings.

1 lb. 2 oz. soft bread or rolls (challah, French-style bread, etc.)
12 large eggs
1 cup sugar, granulated
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1½ quart milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 qt. (2 lb., 2 oz.) Pacific Northwest Canned Pears, chunks, drained
1½ cups dried apricots, slivered
2 ¾ cups prepared caramel sauce

Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Beat eggs until light. Add sugar and vanilla and beat to blend. Slowly whisk in milk and cream; add spices. Pour custard mixture over bread and toss to coat. Let bread mixture stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread bottom and sides of full-size steamtable pan with softened butter. Fold diced pears and apricots into bread mixture. Pour into prepared steamtable pan. Place steamtable pan on a sheet pan and place in preheated 350°F oven. Pour boiling water in base of sheet pan (1⁄4”). Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Cool pudding. Serve each individual serving with approximately 2 Tbsp. warm caramel sauce.

PHOTO: PACIFIC NORTHWEST CANNED PEARS