This is an all-time favorite winter dessert at Tante Marie’s. It was first taught to us by Manny Goodman, who was the chef of Bistro Roti.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk with the cream. In a medium
bowl beat the yolks and sugar with a wire whisk. Add the warm milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix thoroughly.
Mix the dried fruit with the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan.
Stir over moderately high heat and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep 20 minutes. Strain and reserve both the fruit and the liquid.
Trim the crusts off the bread and cut the slices in half. Totally cover the bottom and sides of a 8 by 12 inch baking pan with the bread slices. Spread the fruit evenly over this. Cover with the remaining bread in an overlapping pattern. Pour over the custard mixture. Make sure the bread is soaked in liquid and the level of custard is just below the bread, if not add milk. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the bread is lightly browned and the custard is set.
To make the sauce, place the sugar with enough water to make a paste in a medium saucepan, melt the sugar carefully over a gentle heat. When the sugar mixture is clear, increase the heat to high and simmer about 7 minutes without stirring until the sugar begins to turn light brown. At this point add 1 cup of the fruit liquid and continue to cook until the consistency of honey. Add the cream and bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
Serves 8 to 10.