1 (24-inch) loaf French bread, cubed and toasted
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups water
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan combine the brow sugar, water, cinnamon, and cloves and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, or until it's slightly thickened and reduced.
3. In a large bowl, place half of the bread and drizzle with half of the melted butter; toss to coat. Drizzle about ¼ cup of the syrup over the bread and again toss to coat. Transfer the bread mixture to the skillet or pan and arrange in a single layer. On top of the bread sprinkle the cheese, then the pecans, raisins and dried apricots.
4. Place the remaining bread in the large bowl and drizzle with the remaining melted butter, tossing to coat. Pour the rest of the syrup over the bread and again toss to coat, ensuring that each piece of bread is properly coated in syrup. Pour this mixture on top of the cheese/nut/raisin/apricot layer in the baking skillet or dish. Arrange the bread so that it is in one layer and pour any excess syrup in the bowl over the bread.
5. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.