Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or 160°C for a fan oven).
Butter a large oval or rectangular oven safe casserole that is not too deep. It should be about 12 to 14 inches (20 - 25 cm) long and about 9 to 10 inches (30 - 35cm) wide.
Put the apricots or dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover them with the brandy, Cointreau or Grand Mariner. Set aside.
Butter the bread on one side and then make six sandwiches using the mincemeat. Keep the mincemeat away from the edges of the bread.
Cut the crusts off the sandwiches and cut each sandwich diagonally in four triangles.
Lay the sandwich triangles one by one in the dish, overlapping them slightly. I like to alternate alternate pointed side up with straight side up, but this is strictly optional. You can leave them all pointed side up if you prefer.
Scatter the dried apricots or cranberries over the bread and pour over any remaining liqueur as well.
Beat the eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl.
Add the cream, milk and vanilla and beat together well.
Pour the cream and egg mixture slowly over the mincemeat sandwiches and dried fruit, making sure that all the bread is coated with the liquid.
Leave to stand for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.
Mix the demerera sugar and mixed spice together and sprinkle over the top of the bread and butter pudding.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the custard is risen and relatively firm and the pudding is golden.
Serve warm with cream or good vanilla ice cream.