APRICOT AND CARDAMOM BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING
SERVES 4 10 fat green cardamom pods, peeled and crushed to give ¾ tsp 350ml (12fl oz) regular or double cream, plus extra to serve, if wished 150ml (5fl oz) milk 100g (3½ oz) sugar (caster or granulated), plus 1 tbsp
3 eggs, beaten 1 tsp vanilla extract 50g (2oz) dried apricots, chopped 50ml (2fl oz) boiling water 6 slices of white bread, crusts removed (slightly stale if possible) 30g (1¼ oz) soft butter 1 Place the crushed cardamom seeds in a saucepan with the cream, milk and 100g of sugar. Stir over a high heat as it comes up to the boil and make sure the sugar dissolves. Once it comes to boiling point, turn off the heat and set aside for 2 minutes. Put the beaten eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl, then pour over the cream mixture, whisking all the time. 2 Next, place the chopped apricots in a cup or heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set the apricots aside to plump up while you butter the bread. 3 Lay the bread out on your worktop and butter it with the soft butter. Cut the slices into 12 triangles. Lay 6 triangles of bread in the bottom of a 1 litre (1¾ pint) pie dish, buttered-side up. Drain the plumped apricots then scatter them over the bread. Arrange the remaining triangles in a chevron design over the apricots. Add the cream and egg mixture, then sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar and set aside for 1 hour if possible (or overnight). 4 Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/gas 4) and place a bain marie of steaming water in the middle of the oven (a roasting tin half full with boiling water). Place the pie dish in the tin and cook for 1 hour or until golden and puffed. Allow to cool slightly, then serve with softly whipped cream.