Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day are fast approaching, so I’ve developed a recipe that fits both bills! This Concha Bread Pudding Breakfast Bake is a perfect blend of sweet pastry and quick assembly. Basically, it’s everything mom wishes she could have on a regular basis. If you’re in charge of preparing mom’s morning meal this year, read on!
What You’ll Need
You’ll need about a pound, to one-and-a-quarter pounds, of conchas, eggs, half-and-half, a lime, almond extract, slivered almonds, and sugars (powdered and granulated). That’s it!
This recipe is easier if you prep it the evening before you want to serve. Allowing it to soak up the sweet custard will create a puffier bread pudding, but baking it straight-away also yields great results.
What are Conchas?
Concha translates to “shell” in English. These Mexican pastries are called that because of the sugar crust tops, which- when baked- resembles a snail’s shell. While it’s easy to make these brioche beauties, this time I’m using a few I picked up from the bakery. Here, in Central Texas, it’s easy to find conchas. If you have a large Mexican, or Central American, presence in your city, I’m positive you can source them easily, as well.
As you can see, I’m using a combo of pink, vanilla, and chocolate conchas for this recipe. You can use one type of concha, or a mix like me. The pink is just vanilla, but I like the way the three play together- colorwise. Once I get them home from the store, I set them on a cooling rack for a day or two and let them go stale. This helps the conchas soak up as much of the egg custard as possible.
To prepare the conchas, cut each into 1 1/2″ strips using a serrated bread knife.
Once you have your strips, cut the concha into 1 1/2″ cubes.
Prep Your Pan and Custard
After the conchas have been cut, the rest of the breakfast bread pudding bake comes together insanely fast. Butter a 9″x 12″ casserole dish with a tablespoon of softened, unsalted butter.
Add the concha cubes to the buttered casserole dish.
In a large mixing bowl combine the egg yolks, whole eggs, and a couple of cups of half-and-half.
To flavor this egg custard, add a teaspoon of pure almond extract. I find that with the other flavorings- and the flavor of the conchas themselves- almond is the perfect extract to use. If you don’t have almond, just use vanilla.
I also use a microplane to zest the peel of one medium lime. This lime zest gives a brightness to the dish that cuts the sweetness of the conchas. Whisk everything together until it is smooth and no large chunks of egg yolk or whites remain.
Soak, or Bake Right Away
Pour the custard over the cubed conchas and cover the pan with aluminum foil.
At this point, you can either let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge, or you can bake it right away. I tend to lean towards the overnight option because I never get up early enough to bake this before my munchkins wake up. Preparing it the night before allows me to take my time and not feel rushed. If I do go the overnight route, I always make sure that I put the casserole dish into the oven while it’s heating up- not after it’s already at temperature. Putting an ice-cold ceramic, or glass, dish into a hot oven is a great way to explode your dish. If you forget to put it in before you turn the oven on, just let it sit out on the counter for at least 30 minutes before putting it into the oven.
No matter which you decide- baking right away or waiting until the next day- just prior to baking, sprinkle the casserole with slivered almonds, then bake the casserole in a 350°F for 40 minutes- still covered. Once the forty minute baking time has elapsed, uncover the casserole and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes- or until an inserted thermometer reads 165°-170°F. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.
I’ve found that this slightly tart lime glaze is the best compliment to the sweet concha casserole.
The glaze is crazy easy to make, too. While the casserole is baking, juice the lime you zested earlier and add the juice to a cup and a half of powdered sugar.
Whisk the two together until no lumps remain. If you find the glaze is too thick, thin it with a little bit of milk or water. I prefer milk because it makes it creamy.
Glaze and Serve
Once the casserole has cooled a bit, glaze it!
Nothing fancy here, just grab a ladle and drizzle the glaze over the entire casserole. You could just pour it over, but I like the aesthetics of a good drizzle.
Serve this Concha Bread Pudding Breakfast Bake while it’s hot or warm because it truly tastes best that way.
My favorite accompaniment to this breakfast casserole is a tropical fruit salad of pineapple, mango, kiwi, and shredded coconut. Topping it with freshly whipped cream is also a great idea. Putting a dollop of whipped cream with tropical fruit on top, is the dopest idea of all.
Leftovers can be stored in a food storage container, in the fridge, for up to three days. Be sure to pin this recipe and start practicing for your favorite Mom’s special day!
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Concha Bread Pudding Breakfast Bake
- 1- 1 1/4 pound conchas, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups half and half
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 medium lime
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- juice of lime (above)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- whole milk, to thin as needed
- If Baking the Casserole the Same Day: Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 9"x 12" casserole dish with the butter, then add the cubes of concha to the buttered casserole dish.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the egg yolks, whole eggs, half-and-half, granulated sugar, almond extract, and the zest of the lime. Whisk these together until smooth.
- Pour the custard over the cubed conchas and cover the pan with aluminum foil. At this point, you can either let the mixture sit, covered, overnight in the fridge*; or you can bake it right away.
- Just before baking, sprinkle the slivered almonds over the casserole. Cover and bake the casserole for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown, or until an inserted thermometer reads 165°-170°F.
- Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Before serving drizzle the Lime Glaze (below) over the casserole, then enjoy.
- Juice the lime you zested earlier. Add the juice to a bowl along with the powdered sugar. Whisk the two together until no lumps remain.
- If you find the glaze is too thick, thin it with a little of milk.
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