Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Pina Colada Bread Pudding

I've always loved bread pudding. It’s the epitome of comfort food and from way back, as far as I can remember, I used to love all the different ways my Mom made it.  Lately I was wondering how to make it summery and tropical.  I decided to experiment with some tropical things like coconut milk and fresh coconut and pineapple and cherries. 

That’s when I thought, “wait a minute…this is starting to sound like a tropical drink!  A Pina Colada as a matter of fact, and so I call this dessert my Pina Colada Bread Pudding.  I think you’ll like it’s crusty golden top, custard-like inside filled with bits of cherries, coconut and crunch almonds covered in a smooth vanilla sauce.

Pina Colada Bread Pudding

1 large loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
2 cups half and half (half whole milk and half cream)
5 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup diced cherries (maraschino)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
½ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9 x 9 square baking dish with non- stick spray. 

Remove the crust from the bread if desired and cut into 1 inch squares. Place cubes in a large bowl and set aside.

In another large bowl mix the half and half, the coconut milk, the beaten eggs, the crushed pineapple, the diced cherries, and the coconut until combined. 

Make sure you stir well as the coconut can sometimes clump at the bottom. Pour your milk mixture over the bread you set aside in the large bowl.  Mix with wooden spoon to make sure the bread gets coated.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

Pour the bread mixture in your prepared dish and using a wooden spoon or spatula, spread it out and then smooth it flat on top.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about an 70-90 minutes or until center is set.  

Allow to cool slightly while you make your sauce.

Vanilla Sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add butter to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat until melted. Pour in milk and stir until blended.

Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl until blended.  Add this mixture to your heated milk and whisk together well. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to whisk the sauce until it begins to thicken. 

Add vanilla and continue to stir until sauce is thick and creamy.  Pour over bread pudding, sprinkle with sliced almonds, and serve warm.  Add more sauce over each portion before serving.

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