Cinnamon Raisin Coconut Bread Pudding

A large bag of sliced white bread recently came into my possession, and I didn’t really know what to do with it. In my house, we eat homemade whole wheat bread (~special snowflake alert~) because it doesn’t make my head hurt, and because it’s easy to make. We stopped buying bread months ago, so eating a slice of processed white bread (or anything highly processed, really) brings an unwanted sugar shock to my body. Since I didn’t want the loaf to go to waste anyway, I decided to make something with it.

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I have never made bread pudding before. It has been on my list for quite a while but I never got around to actually making it. I feel like a bread pudding made with whole wheat bread would be really weird, so that’s why it was still on my list. I’ve always dreamed of eating a challah bread pudding, but that’ll probably be another time. Anyway, with this bag of white bread in hand, I finally took the plunge.

Bread pudding is basically a custard. It actually reminds me of baked French toast; which could probably be a loosely based version of this depending on who you ask. I reckon if you leave the slices whole, it’d be a baked French toast. So, this custard. I am actually really familiar with custards; thanks to my mom, the flan queen. This custard isn’t exactly like my mami’s flan but they are similar. It’s egg and milk based; the two main ingredients in custard. Granted, my mami’s flan has a higher ratio of eggs and milk, but I think I’ll discuss that at a later time ūüėČ

Anyway, this bread pudding is kind of another version of my blondies because I threw a bunch of random things in here that I had lying around my cupboard. I had some coconut milk left over from some caramel¬†sauce, sweetened shredded coconut from a batch of¬†cookies, raisins left over from my breakfasts, and of course the star of the show: the white bread. Technically, you’re supposed to use day old bread but considering we were keeping this loaf in the fridge, I used it as is. I also threw in some cognac because booze makes everything better (and because I ran out of vanilla and wanted some extra flavor in there). I did get a little heavy handed with it, though. Oops! I topped it with some turbinado sugar for crunch before baking and before I knew it, I had bread pudding.

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I gotta be honest. Another one of the reasons I kept putting off making bread pudding was because of something else. One of my neighbors loves bread pudding, so she tried making one. Her final result was a thick and gray blob that had nuggets of dry white bread. How the bread was still dry in there is beyond me, but it turned me off the stuff forever.¬†I was terrified that this bread pudding was going to end up tasting like a regular slice of dry white bread.¬†Thankfully, it didn’t! It was actually kind of amazing. The bread was completely soaked in this boozy and spicy custard; its insides were soft and moist, each bite melting in your mouth. There was a hint of crunch with every bite, thanks to the turbinado sugar topping and toasted coconut shreds. The raisins plumped up, adding some chewiness against the softness of the custardy and crunchy bread pudding.

It was so good; I ate it warm, room temperature, and cold from the fridge! It was delicious every single time. I still got the sugar shock from the bread (and the sugar) but it was so worth it, I’d eat it again in a heartbeat; despite the consequences.¬†I’m glad I actually made this because it really got my gears going. There are so many different variations that I want to try, including a challah bread pudding. I’ll just try and remember to go easy on the alcohol next time ūüėČ

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Cinnamon Raisin Coconut Bread Pudding – adapted from allrecipes.com

Makes one 9″ round pan, or 8×8″ square pan

  • 9 slices of white bread, cubed (crusts included)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon rum (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 1-2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cube or break bread into small pieces and place in an 8×8 inch square baking pan (or 9 inch round pan). Drizzle the melted butter over bread, and sprinkle with the raisins and half of the shredded coconut.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and rum if using. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly press down with a fork/spoon/spatula until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture. Sprinkle the remaining coconut and turbinado sugar.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped. Cool slightly before serving.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • If you’d like a thicker custard, sub one of the whole eggs for one egg yolk.¬†
  • It took every ounce of my being to not throw chocolate chunks in here. Use whatever toppings you’d like or have on hand; it’s bound to be delicious anyway!
  • If you have a crust aversion, cut them off the slices of bread before cubing.¬†
  • You can also use milk, half and half, or heavy cream in place of the coconut milk.¬†
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