We eat a lot of bread in Puerto Rico, which means that sometimes we can find ourselves with some leftover bread, but that's nothing to worry about. We can put that to very good use! We make budin! This Puerto Rican version of bread pudding is so delicious - it's rich because of the caramel and the consistency is somewhat of a mix between traditional bread pudding and flan. My great grandpa lived to be 98 years old and the one thing that he would bake until the very end was this recipe - so it may even be a prescription for longevity!
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 cup water
½ tsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp nutmeg
3 cups evaporated milk
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup of infused water (see above)
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of raisins
1 loaf of French bread or pan de agua (2 days old)
The first step in making budin is to prepare the caramel. We have already shown you how to prepare caramel in the channel so we are not going to go too much into detail, check out the link above for the flan video for a more detailed process, if you are interested. Basically, add the sugar to an even layer saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the sugar at the bottom starts melting, begin stirring continuously with a heat-resistant spatula. After a couple of minutes of stirring, the sugar will clump up and form hard, rock-like chunks. Don’t worry, all the sugar will eventually melt -- just press down on the larger clumps to break them up so they melt faster. Continue stirring constantly, until the caramel is an even golden brown. This usually takes 4 to 5 minutes.
Once your caramel is the right color and consistency, take it off the heat and then, while it is still hot, pour the caramel into the baking pan in order to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. We are using an 8 inch deep pan and the budin will bake almost all the way to the top so you want to make sure to cover the sides of the pan all the way to the top. Put it aside and let it cool.
With the caramel ready, let’s move on to the infused water. Turn on the stove on high. In a large heavy pot, combine the water, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. Mix all the ingredients with a large spoon. Once the water starts boiling, stir the mixture one more time. Then, let it boil for 2 minutes. At the end of the 2 minutes, turn off the stove and let the mixture rest for 15 minutes or until it reaches room temperature.
We are now ready to move on to the budin mixture. In a large mixing bowl, add the evaporated milk, heavy cream, whole milk and coconut milk and stir to combine. Then add the sugar and stir to combine one more time. Let it sit for a couple of minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the butter, vanilla and salt to the bowl and mix one more time.
Now, back to the infused water. Using a strainer to collect all of the large pieces, pour the water into a clean container. Measure and separate a ½ cup of the water and add it to the large bowl with the milk mixture. Also add the raisins and stir to combine.
With the mixture almost ready, let’s crack the eggs in a separate container. Using a fork or a whisk, beat the eggs until the yolks are completely broken apart. When the eggs are ready, add the eggs to the large bowl and stir with the same fork to combine the eggs with the other ingredients. Finally, add the bread pieces into the milk mixture. I am using 2 day old french bread that I cut into really small pieces. Using a potato masher, push the bread pieces into the milk mixture. This process will help break the bread even more. Let it sit for 25 minutes, you can leave it out on the counter if your kitchen is not too hot. If it is really warm, then place it in the fridge. Mash the bread into the milk mixture a couple of times during the 25 minutes.
While you wait for the mixture, turn on the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. At the end of the 25 minutes, mash the bread one more time and then pour the mixture in the prepared baking pan. You can fill it pretty close to the top, as this mix will not rise much in the oven. Once you have poured the mixture, use the potato masher or a spatula and flatten the top of the mix so you get an even bake.
We are going to bake the budin in a bain marie, which is just a fancy name for a water bath.
To set up your bain marie, place a large, deep baking pan into the oven. Fill the pan with hot water to about ⅓ of the way up the side.
Then, place the budin inside the baking pan, the water level should be at least half-way up the side of the baking pan. If you need to add more water, be really careful making sure not to splash any water into the budin.
Bake for 90 minutes or until the top is starting to golden and when you insert a cake tester or toothpick in the middle, it comes out clean.
Once cooked, remove your budin from the oven. Run a knife along the edges of the baking pan to loosen the sides. Then, remove the pan from the water and let it cool to room temperature. Once it reaches room temperature, if you are not going to eat it right away, then place the budin in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to eat it, you will need to unmold the budin. To unmold, lightly shake the baking pan to make sure that the budin is loose. Next, grab your serving tray. The tray should be at least an inch larger than the baking pan. Put the tray container on top of the baking mold and flip the budin onto the tray. Cut yourself a nice slice and enjoy!
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.