60g dried cranberries (or raisins, currants, etc)
3 tbsp port or sherry (or use apple juice)
About 500g stollen, sliced
50g unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
40g caster sugar
300ml double cream
1 tsp almond essence
3 tbsp apricot jam, optional
1 Gently heat the cranberries in the port or sherry in a small pan then leave until cold. Spread the bread slices with most of the butter, leaving a large knob to grease the sides of a 1.5-litre shallow ovenproof dish. Arrange the bread in the dish in overlapping layers, sprinkling in between with the cranberries.
2 Beat the yolks, eggs and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Then beat in the cream, milk and almond essence.
3 Slowly pour this over the bread, then press the bread slices completely under the liquid with your (clean) hands so they all soak up the custard. Leave to rest for at least an hour while you preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4.
4 When ready to cook, place the dish in a roasting pan and pour boiling water to come halfway up the dish as a bain-marie. This ensures the custard does not overheat and curdle.
5 Bake for 1 hour. Warm the jam until runny and brush over the top of the pudding, then return it to the oven for another 15 minutes. Cool for a good half hour before serving. It is best served warm, not scalding hot.