firm crusty French bread
( 1 lb., 4 to 4 1/2 inches wide)
1 1/2 teaspoons
bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
dried apricot, quartered
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or 2 tablespoons
Trim crusts off bread and cut loaf cross-wise into 3/4 inch thick slices.
Arrange 8 to 10 slices diagonally in a buttered 8-inch square pan you may have to overlap them on each other and push and tug a bit to get them to fit without overlapping the edges of the pan, while performing this step, tuck the chocolate and apricots in amongst the bread slices, and scatter some over the top as well.
Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, sugar, liqueur OR orange juice, and vanilla together until well blended, then gently pour over the bread and soak for about 30 to 40 minutes until its all soaked up you may need to coax it a bit by spooning some of the liquid over the top.
Bake in 350 oven for about 30 minutes, or until custard is cooked in the center.
If desired, very briefly run the pan under the broiler about 3 to 4 inches from the heat for a golden and crusty top (optional).
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Chocolate Apricot Bread Pudding (cont.)