Recipe courtesy of Santos Loo

Budin de Pan con Caramelo

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Growing up in the Latin communities of New York City, I ate my fair share of budin de pan, a custard-like bread pudding with a caramel topping similar to flan. It was a dessert widely sold in bodegas and often displayed next to coquito Cubanos, a baked shredded coconut dessert with sweetened condensed milk, or dulce de membrillo, a Spanish-style quince jelly. Although budin de pan has most of the same ingredients as other bread puddings, its texture and flavor are different. If you like flan, you will love this version of bread pudding.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot or kettle filled with water to a simmer.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until it begins to melt, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to slowly stir the sugar until the melted sugar becomes the color of maple syrup, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel into an 8-inch square baking dish and quickly tilt the baking dish from side to side to coat the bottom with the caramel. As you tilt the baking dish, the caramel will begin to set and it’s OK if it doesn’t completely coat the bottom because the caramel will spread evenly as it bakes. Set aside the caramel-coated baking dish. 
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, orange zest and remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a large bowl. Tear the bread into large pieces and press into the milk mixture. Add in the melted butter and raisins, then use your hands to squeeze the bread into the wet ingredients until the mixture resembles wet oatmeal and you no longer see large pieces of bread. Pour the mixture into the caramel-coated baking dish.  
  4. Place the baking dish in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Carefully close the door to the oven and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack for 1 hour 30 minutes.  
  5. To unmold, run a paring knife around the edge of the baking dish to release the sides and then carefully invert the bread pudding onto a rimmed serving dish, allowing the caramel to pour out from the bottom of the pan over the top. Cut into 8 to 10 pieces. Serve at room temperature or chilled if desired.

Cook’s Note

For best results, weigh the sliced white bread. If you do not have a scale, then look at the package the bread came in to find out the weight of the full loaf. For instance, if your loaf of bread weighs 1 pound 8 ounces (24 ounces total) and it has 24 slices, then each slice weighs 1 ounce. From there it is easy to determine how many slices of bread to add. The budin de pan con caramelo can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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