Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x8x2 inch baking dish. Place dish in large roasting pan (water bath).
Stir Half and Half, sugar and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar and salt dissolve, about 1 minute (mixture should still be cool).
In a large bowl, whisk eggs just until blended. Gradually, but very gently, whisk cream mixture into eggs, so very little foam is created. Whisk in vanilla. Set aside.
Arrange 4 bread slices in buttered dish. Spread evenly with 1/4 cup apricot preserves. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Add raisins.
Top with remaining bread slices and spread remaining apricot preserves. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon & nutmeg.
Strain egg mixture over bread (I used a wire mesh strainer. Let stand 15 minutes for bread to absorb custard, occasionally, gently, pushing bread down into custard.
Pour enough barely warm water into ROASTING pan to come half way up sides of bread dish.
Bake pudding 20 minutes. Add several ice cubes to water in pan around pudding. Continue to bake until pudding is just set and small sharp knife inserted into center comes out almost clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove roasting pan from oven. DO NOT TAKE PUDDING OUT OF ROASTING PAN! Let pudding stand in water bath for 30 minutes.
Now, take pudding out of water bath and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Cover and keep refrigerated up to 2 days......if it lasts that long!
*Cooks note...my oven doesn't always work. I ended up having to cook this pudding for 1 hour before knife came out "almost clean".