A decadent bread pudding topped with fruit compote is the perfect alternative to a pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. If you’re really feeling daring, heat it up in the microwave and throw a scoop of vanilla or spiced rum icecream into the mix.
- Butter a 9-by-13-inch or some other large, shallow baking dish. Using a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, the cream, vanilla, 1 cup of sugar, and the ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Heat the oven to 350° F. Place bread in prepared dish and pour it in the egg mixture, pressing bread down to submerge it. Allow it t0 sit for about 30 minutes, pressing down on bread occasionally.
- Sprinkle bread with ¼ cup of the remaining sugar and dot it with the butter. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake it until set and golden, for 55 to 65 minutes (tent with foil if the pudding browns too quickly).
- Meanwhile, using a small saucepan, combine orange juice, the apricots, raisins, cherries, and your remaining ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer it, stirring occasionally, until all of the fruit is soft and liquid is slightly thickened, which will take 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in brandy (if using). Serve compote alongside the bread pudding.