notes from the mexican kitchen

A ‘Seductive’ Coconut Bread Pudding

Mexican_darkblueLogo_POST_170x177Not too long ago, we made a pan of this coconut bread pudding in the test kitchen above our Clark Street restaurants.

The reviews were across-the-board spectacular. In fact, we spotted a few taste testers having a private moment of bliss (if you know what I mean) as they took bite after bite.

The secret to a good bread pudding — what really makes it tender, not leaden — isn’t really a secret at all. Just use the right bread (cakey bread like brioche is great) and add some richness (here it’s butter plus the natural fattiness of tropical coconut milk).

Toast the bread, as I’ve described below, and the result is utterly seductive.

Don’t forget: Snap pics of your finished dish and tag them #MoreBayless on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for a chance to win an autographed copy of my new cookbook, “More Mexican Everyday.” Details here. It’s the final round! The deadline to submit is midnight on Tuesday, April 28. 

Budín de Pan y Coco
Servings: 6


  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 14 ounces bread (I like brioche or challah, but cakey white sandwich bread works well, too), crusts trimmed off if you wish, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican or dark rum or Xtabentún
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 114-ounce can coconut milk (regular, not
  • 1/2cup granulated sugar
  • Confectioners' sugar, for serving
  • Optional garnishes
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1cup chopped papaya
  • 1cup crema


Turn on the oven to 400 degrees. Scoop the butter into a large, microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Scoop the bread into the bowl and stir slowly until it is evenly coated. Spread the bread on a rimmed baking sheet, slide it into the oven and toast, stirring every 5 minutes, until it is richly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove the bread and turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking dish and scoop the bread into it.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt. In a small (1- to 2-quart) saucepan, heat the coconut milk and the granulated sugar over medium-low, stirring until the mixture is just warm (not close to boiling) and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the warm coconut milk into the eggs in a slow stream, whisking constantly, until well combined. Pour the custard over the bread. Let the bread soak up the custard for 15 minutes, gently stirring the mixture every few minutes. Slide the baking dish into the oven and bake until the bread pudding is barely set at the center, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, cut into pieces, place them on small plates and you're ready to delight a few friends.

Variations: Garnish the finished bread pudding with about 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and 1 cup chopped papaya. Serve with crema. 


  1. Very nice, guys, but let’s see you go one better – gluten-free bread pudding.

    Why bother? Because someone in my family is celiac, and he’s only 10.


    1. Hi Josh –
      This recipe would absolutely work – the challenge will be to find a gluten free bread to substitute for the brioche. I found a number of recipes for this online – but if you do not want to go to the trouble of making the bread first, you can try doing this recipe with the equivalent in weight in gluten free bread. Since it gets toasted and then soaked – it will probably be slightly less sweet and buttery than brioche – but still delicious!

  2. Hi Rick,
    I love watching you & your daughter in Mexico -one plate at a Time. I’ve enjoyed cooking most of your recipes. I am going to make your Coconut bread pudding for “Mother’s Day” . I know I will not be disappointed. All of your recipes that I have cooked for my family have recieved awesome compliments. My parents are from Mexico and all of my recipes are memorized. So many of your dishes are similar to mine. It’s nice to be able to give my children & grandchildren a written recipe. “Your cook books”. Thank You, it was difficult for me to write my recipes because my hands are my measuring cups & spoons. You know what I mean. Thank you.

  3. As I am writing this, my bread pudding is in the oven-it should be out shortly. I had to add golden raisins and pecans. Smells wonderful and I know it will be absolutely divine. Thanks Rick!

  4. Has anyone tried adding Mexican cinnamon? Along with Sultanas and maybe substitute some of the sugar with honey?

  5. I was happy to have the opportunity to review this cookbook as well and even tested the same recipe on my blog! I now want to start at the very beginning and cook my way from the front cover to the back. Every recipe is a gem!

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