Take the flavors of Coquito and bake them into a bread pudding made with Pan Sobao? Why wouldn’t we do that? This Puerto Rican-style bread pudding looks different than the pudding you might be used to, but it will also make you a convert. Densely packed, this sweet treat is loaded with plump raisins and the coconut-rum flavor you expect from a cold glass of coquito. When you smother it with a Coquito Toffee Sauce, you transport yourself and your family to the islands, without all the airline drama.
I’m going to use the words bread pudding and budín [boo-dEEn] interchangeably in this post because the latter translates the former. And because I’m sometimes lazy, and budín is easier to type.
What is Coquito?
Coquito is a popular holiday cocktail from Puerto Rico, which is very similar to eggnog. Often, it is served from Halloween through El Dia de los Reyes (Three King’s Day or Epiphany). I, personally, start brewing my first batch in late August. Coquito is made -at least my coquito is- with fresh coconut milk, rum, and cinnamon. Those are the prominent flavors of the drink. Most families have unique recipes which incorporate more spices, as mine does. Some families use one rum. Others, like mine, use more than one rum. Clearly, mine is super unique, and you must try it. Clearly.
In fact, here’s a link to all the coquito recipes I have on the site!
What is Budín? How is it different than bread pudding?
Bread pudding in Puerto Rico and many other Hispanic countries is slightly different. Budín (or pudín in other countries) is denser than what you might be used to. Instead of chunks of day-old bread baked on its own in the oven, budín is more compact and is baked in a water bath. The result is more like a cake than a pastry.
Whereas bread puddings are commonly served with a hard sauce, many people coat their budín in a caramelized sugar, similar to what you’d have with flan. I skip this because if I wanted flan, I’d make one. Instead, I top mine with a Coquito Toffee Sauce. However, you can totally serve the budín on its own.
What ingredients do I need to make Coquito Bread Pudding?
To make this coquito bread pudding, you need a loaf of day-old Pan Sobao or Brioche bread. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and put them in a large mixing bowl. You also need prepared virgin Coquito. I’ll tell you why I emphasize that later. The rest of the ingredients are unsalted butter, sugar, cinnamon, kosher salt, vanilla extract (or you can use rum extract), dark raisins, eggs, and sweetened coconut flakes.
Because you need the coquito already made, I would start that the day before, so the flavors have a chance to combine fully.
We’ll talk about the Coquito Toffee Sauce ingredients later.
The bread pudding bakes in a 9×13-inch casserole dish set inside of a larger pan. Not much else is required in the way of special equipment, though. While we’re on the topic of equipment, take a tablespoon of that melted butter and use it to lightly grease your smaller baking dish. Use a pastry brush to brush a light layer of butter on the bottom and sides of the 9×13-inch dish. Set this aside. The remaining butter will go into the coquito custard.
I hate raisins! Can I use something besides raisins in my bread pudding?
Hector hates dark raisins. Or, so he says. Every time I make a dessert with raisins in it, he reminds me of how much he hates them… as he eats them. If you legitimately hate raisins, you can omit them or replace them with dried cherries or cranberries. You can also replace them with milk, semi-sweet, dark, or white chocolate chips.
If you use the raisins or another dried fruit, you need to rehydrate them before adding them to the bread pudding. If the raisins aren’t plumped before going into the mix, they bake almost rock-hard. Instead, pour hot water over the fruit and allow the fruit to rehydrate for 30 minutes. I do this before I start measuring out the rest of the ingredients.
Now, the first time I made this budín de coquito, I rehydrated the raisins in dark rum. A great choice for the adults in the house. The kids? Not so much. You could smell the booze coming off of the bread pudding. If you’re making this for an adult-only crowd, you can try it out and see how you like it. Just rehydrate the raisins in gold or dark rum.
After 30 minutes, whisk together the eggs, sugar, the remaining melted butter, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Strain the soaking liquid from the raisins into the bowl and whisk everything until combined.
Can I make a boozy Coquito Bread Pudding?
Because my kids will always browbeat me into sharing dessert, I don’t make this coquito bread pudding with alcoholic coquito. I probably wouldn’t make it with alcoholic coquito even if they were of age. The amount of rum in my coquito, coupled with any rum that I may soak the raisins in and will later add to the toffee sauce, just makes the dessert, as a whole, taste very bitter.
If you’re into super boozy desserts, you can use alcoholic coquito. I would choose either the alcoholic coquito or soaking the raisins in rum, though. Not both. Both combined don’t make for a tasty budín. So, pick one or the other and sip a glass of coquito on the side if you need to. You can add a rum flavor without adding all the booze by replacing the vanilla extract with rum extract. You can even add an additional tablespoon of the rum extract to give it a more prominent rum-like flavor.
Add the coquito to the egg mixture in the bowl and stir with your whisk to incorporate it. This recipe uses 1 1/2 bottles of my coquito recipe (or 4 1/2 cups).
Now’s a perfect time to set about 4 cups of water on the stove to boil. This is what we’ll use for our water bath later.
Can I turn this into an Eggnog Bread Pudding?
Yep! You sure can! Instead of using coquito, use the same amount of eggnog. Again, I would stick with virgin eggnog so as not to have stumbling dessert-eaters in the house. Also, replace the cinnamon with nutmeg since that’s the more prominent flavor of eggnog.
The same would go for the Coquito Toffee Sauce below. Just replace the coquito in that recipe for eggnog and the cinnamon for nutmeg.
How long does the bread need to soak?
Pour the coquito custard mixture over the cubes of bread in a large mixing bowl. Allow the bread to soak up that custard for 15 minutes. This gives the custard a chance to soak into the bread and start making it mushy. Something we try to avoid too much in bread pudding in the States.
After 15 minutes, use your hands to squeeze the bread into a mushy paste. I know some people who use an immersion blender to do this, but that’s a bit excessive for me. Just take out your frustrations from the day on the bread by squeezing the crap out of it.
The goal is to end up with a mushy, pasty consistency.
How do I assemble the budín de coquito?
As you can see, this coquito bread pudding is easy to prepare. To finish, fold the plump raisins into the bread soup mixture with a large rubber spatula or spoon. Scrape the contents of the mixing bowl into the greased baking dish, then top it with the sweetened coconut flakes.
We add the coconut flakes now because they’ll look all ashy and sad if we add them towards the end of baking. Top the budín with them now, then tightly cover the baking dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil. By now, your water should be boiling.
Why bake the bread pudding in a bain-marie?
Set the foil-wrapped dish inside a larger dish. You can see that I’m just using a roasting pan for my outer dish.
Pour the boiling water into the outer pan, then carefully place the whole set-up into a 350°F (177°C) oven.
How long does bread pudding need to be baked?
Bake the coquito bread pudding for 1 hour while it’s covered.
After an hour, carefully remove the foil covering from the smaller pan. I usually remove both pans from the oven to do this. It keeps me from having to keep the oven open, which drops the temperature significantly.
Return the uncovered budín (still in the water bath) to the oven to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes. The top of the bread pudding will be a deep golden brown, and the pudding will have puffed slightly.
What is Coquito Toffee Sauce?
You should begin making the Coquito Toffee Sauce after returning the uncovered bread pudding to the oven for the last part of its baking.
Coquito toffee sauce is a brown sugar and butter mixture finished with coquito to create a dessert sauce. Toffee- brown sugar and butter- is much like caramel, only easier to make because it doesn’t require a thermometer or the babysitting of sugar crystals. If you like caramel, you’re going to adore this sauce.
What ingredients do I need to make the toffee sauce?
You need virgin coquito, brown sugar (light or brown is okay), cinnamon, kosher salt, and unsalted butter to make the Coquito Toffee Sauce.
The best pot to use for this toffee sauce is a 4-quart or larger pot with sloping sides. Because you’re going to add the coquito to the molten hot butter and sugar, you need to allow for steam and bubbling up. If you make this toffee sauce in a pot that’s too small, you risk a boil-over, which is not only messy but dangerous. The only other equipment you need is a whisk.
Can I use alcoholic coquito for the toffee sauce?
This is the one portion of this recipe where I’m okay with you using alcoholic coquito. I’ve made this toffee sauce with and without virgin coquito, and both tasted delicious. Be mindful that the booze won’t cook off completely. That’s something to consider if you’re planning to serve this to the kids, someone abstaining from alcohol, or anyone sensitive to alcohol.
Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to the pot.
Whisk the brown sugar into the butter in small concentric circles. So, make little circles with your whisk as you travel around the pot in a circle.
After 3-4 minutes, you’ll see the butter pools come together into the dissolving sugar, then the sugar and butter will look like they separated again. Continue stirring until the mixture comes together again.
How long do I need to stir the butter and sugar?
After 4-5 minutes, the mixture will look like thick, glossy mud. Carefully, pour the coquito into the pot, whisking constantly. Keep your hands and face away from the top of the pot. The steam created by the coquito can scald you.
Whisk in the coquito until the sauce is smooth and no clumps remain. Continue cooking the sauce while whisking for another 1-2 minutes.
How far ahead can I make the Coquito Toffee Sauce?
The sauce will be thin when you’re done making it. As it sits and cools, it will thicken to the consistency of maple syrup, though. You can remove the pot from the stove and keep the toffee sauce in it or transfer the sauce to a storage container.
If you want, you can prepare the coquito toffee sauce a week ahead and store it in the fridge. You may need to reheat it slightly to loosen it up enough for it to be poured, though.
You can also freeze this coquito toffee sauce for 1 month. Just put it in a freezer storage container and freeze. When you’re ready to use it, just thaw it and reheat it to loosen it up.
How long does the budín need to cool before I can serve it?
Once the budín is done baking, remove both pans from the oven, then remove the bread pudding pan from the larger pan.
Allow the bread pudding to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Do I add the toffee sauce now or let my guests add it later?
Before serving, I top the budín with the coquito toffee sauce, but you can serve the toffee sauce on the side. I recommend trying the bread pudding on its own to see which way you prefer it.
The coquito toffee sauce tastes great at room temperature, but I think it tastes best when warm. You can transfer the sauce to a small serving pitcher and plunk it right next to the coquito bread pudding baking dish.
Is Coquito Bread Pudding served hot or cold?
How you serve the coquito bread pudding is a matter of preference. Hector likes his cold from the fridge. I think it’s akin to eating cold pizza, which is gross, but which he also likes. I prefer to eat my budīn while it’s still warm.
You can do whatever you think you’d like best. There are no hard and fast rules here. I do think warm budín topped with frozen custard is something like seeing God face-to-face, I will say that.
How do I store leftover budín?
Wrap leftover budín in plastic film or transfer the leftovers to a food storage container.
Keep leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat the portion you plan to eat in the microwave for 20-25 seconds on high heat or until as warm as you like. You can, again, serve it cold straight from the fridge if you prefer.
Can I freeze it?
You can freeze baked coquito bread pudding. Just wrap it well to prevent freezer burn and freeze it for 2 months.
Thaw the frozen budín in the fridge overnight or until defrosted and reheat to your desired temperature.
Be sure to check out all the other recipes made with coquito on my site. Don’t forget to pin this post to your dessert board and share it with your crew!
Coquito Bread Pudding (Budín de Coquito) with Coquito Toffee Sauce
- 9x13-inch casserole dish
For the Coquito Bread Pudding (Budín de Coquito)
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 a stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter melted, separated
- 3/4 cup (125 grams) dark raisins
- 3/4 cup (188 milliliters) hot water
- 1 pound (454 grams) pan sobao day old, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vanilla extract or rum extract
- 1 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 1/2 cups (1 1/8 liters) prepared virgin coquito
- 1/2 cup (20 grams) sweetened coconut flakes
For the Coquito Toffee Sauce
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 a stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter sliced
- 1/4 cup, packed (55 grams) brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch kosher salt optional
- 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) prepared coquito
Rehydrate the Raisins (begin 30 minutes ahead)
- Use a pastry brush to brush 1 tablespoon of the melted butter onto the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Set this aside. The remaining butter will go into the coquito custard.
- Add the dark raisins to a small bowl and pour the hot water over the fruit. Allow the fruit to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Add the pan sobao bread cubes to a separate, larger mixing bowl. Set this aside.
Finish the Coquito Custard
- During the last 10 minutes of soaking the raisins, preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C).Bring 4-5 cups of water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Prepare to fill a roasting pan (one that is larger than your greased baking dish) with this water later.
- Use a whisk to combine the eggs, sugar, the remaining melted butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together in a mixing bowl. After 30 minutes of soaking the raisins, strain the soaking liquid from the raisins into the bowl and whisk everything together again until combined.
- Add the coquito to the egg mixture in the bowl and stir with your whisk to incorporate it.Pour this coquito custard mixture over the cubes of bread in a large mixing bowl. Allow the bread to soak in custard for 15 minutes.
Assemble the Coquito Bread Pudding and Bake
- After 15 minutes, use your hands to squeeze the bread into a mushy paste. Next, fold the plump raisins into the bread mixture using a large rubber spatula or spoon.
- Scrape the contents of the mixing bowl into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle the sweetened coconut flakes over the top of the mixture in an even layer.Tightly cover the baking dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Set the foil-wrapped dish inside the larger roasting pan you set out earlier. Pour the boiling water into the outer pan, then carefully place the two pans into your preheated oven.
- Bake the coquito bread pudding for 1 hour. After an hour, carefully remove the foil covering from the smaller pan and return the uncovered budín (still in the water bath) to the oven to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes. The top of the bread pudding will be a deep golden brown, and the pudding will have puffed slightly.
Prepare the Coquito Toffee Sauce (after uncovering the budín)
- You should begin making the Coquito Toffee Sauce after returning the uncovered bread pudding to the oven for the last part of its baking.
- In a 4-quart (or larger) pot with sloping sides, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to the butter in the pot in small concentric circles.
- The puddles of butter will come together to combine with the dissolving sugar, then the sugar and butter will look like they have separated again. Continue stirring until the mixture comes together again. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
- After 4-5 minutes, the mixture will look like thick, glossy mud. Carefully, pour the coquito into the pot, whisking constantly. Keep your hands and face away from the top of the pot. The steam created by the coquito can scald you. Whisk in the coquito until the sauce is smooth and no clumps remain. Continue cooking the sauce while whisking for another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the stove and keep the toffee sauce in it or transfer the sauce to a storage container if you plan to serve it later.
Serve and Top the Coquito Bread Pudding
- Once the budín is done baking, remove both pans from the oven, then remove the bread pudding pan from the larger pan. Allow the bread pudding to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Top the warm or room temperature budín with the coquito toffee sauce or serve the toffee sauce on the side. You can also serve this coquito bread pudding chilled.
Swaps and Substitutions:
- Omit or replace the dark raisins with sultanas (golden raisins), dried cherries, dried cranberries, or milk, semi-sweet, dark, or white chocolate chips. Dried fruits will need to be rehydrated using the same method above.
- Instead of soaking the raisins in hot water you can rehydrate them in warmed gold or dark rum. This is not recommended if you're planning to serve the bread pudding to children or those with sensitivities to alcohol.
- Replace the virgin coquito with alcoholic coquito. Choose either the alcoholic coquito or soaking the raisins in rum. Not both.
- Replace the coquito and cinnamon in this recipe with virgin eggnog and nutmeg for an Eggnog Bread Pudding.
For the Coquito Toffee Sauce:
- You can prepare the coquito toffee sauce a week ahead and store it in and air-tight container the fridge.
- To freeze coquito toffee sauce:
- Transfer the cooled sauce to a freezer storage container.
- Freeze the coquito toffee sauce for 1 month.
- Thaw the sauce completely in the refrigerator before using.
- To reheat the coquito toffee sauce, microwave it on high for 20 seconds. Stir it until smooth before serving.
- To store leftovers in the fridge:
- Wrap leftover budín in plastic film or transfer the leftovers to a food storage container.
- Keep leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Reheat the portion you plan to eat in the microwave for 20-25 seconds on high heat or until warm, or serve it cold.
- Freezer Instructions:
- Wrap the cooled budín well to prevent freezer burn.
- Freeze it for 2 months.
- Thaw the frozen budín in the fridge overnight or until defrosted and reheat to your desired temperature.