Heat the milk with the lemon zest to just below boiling point. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to infuse.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and lightly grease a 1 1/2 litre rectangular ovenproof dish.
Butter the slices of bread and cut each slice into triangular quarters, leaving the crusts on. Arrange the bread in layers, buttered side up, neatly overlapping in the ovenproof dish, scattering the apricots in between the layers.
Beat together the eggs, sugar and infused milk. Pour the mixture over the bread and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Gently push the bread down into the custard so that each piece is soaked. Mix together the demerara or raw sugar and cinnamon and dust over the pudding.
Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until the custard is lightly set and the top is golden brown and crusty. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
I thought this was one of the better bread puddings I’ve tried in a long time. Definitely a keeper! I made a smaller amount to use up some brioche I had left-over. The pudding had just enough sweetness with the apricots, and the crunchy topping of the raw sugar was perfect. Thanks for sharing! - 11 May 2013