Some bread puddings are made with bourbon or another libation, others can be made with a fruit juice such as orange juice    Start by combining 3/4 cup of mixed diced dried fruits with 3/4 Tbsp of water and 2 Tbsp orange juice in a small saucepan    Bring to a simmer over medium heat and remove from the heat so a peeled – quartered – cored and cross sliced ripe pear can be added    let the warmed fruits cool    Spray a 9″ x 11″ baking dish with non stick spray and scatter the bread in an even layer in the pan    Spoon the soaked fruit evenly on top    In another medium size bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg – whisk in 3 cups of low fat 1% milk, 2 large eggs, 1 large egg white, 2 tsp almond extract and 1 tsp grated orange zest   Pour over the bread-pressing down the cubes to soak up the liquid-cover with foil and let stand for 30 minutes    Preheat the oven to 350F and pull the oven rack partly out    Place a large roasting pan on the rack and place the bread pudding inside it    Carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to fill it halfway up the sides of the baking dish    Bake….covered for 30 minutes – uncover and continue baking until puffed and golden, about another 30 minutes    Remove from the pan and let cool    Serve warm, sifting a little more confectioner’s sugar on top if you wish    You can always make the pudding ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator overnight until your ready to add to it and bake it    Try to select dried fruits that are colorful and festive….and most of all share it with good friends and family during the holiday season…. with best wishes to all     Happy Holidays! 

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