Things this particular kitchen adventure has taught me:
1. It’s nigh impossible to bake bread pudding without queuing up Christmas carols–the wafts of butter, sugar, rum and cinnamon just call for holiday festivity.
2. Swapping out a shallow 9×13 dish for a shorter, deeper one will result in a burnt outer crust and super-soft inner cake, so sticking with the original suggestion is the smartest move here.
3. What really qualifies this dish as Belizean is its generous use of coconut–Belize loves its coconuts, y’all. Be it the dried husk as a fire-starter, the water as a mixer for boozy drinks, the meat grated to be turned into milk or mixed into roughly a million* desserts, Belizeans have a use for every single part of the coconut. And in this pudding, that use will absolutely leave you jonesing for one more bite…and just one more…and, okay, maaaaybe just one more. Rich, creamy and oh-so comforting, it really is that good.*Not a mathematically verified estimation.
Recipe itself: Adapted from this recipe
Yield: one 9×13 pan
1 loaf day-old bread
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c seedless raisins
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 c butter, melted
200 ml (just over 1 c) evaporated milk
1 13.5-oz can full-fat coconut milk
1 oz rum (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 c water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Tear bread into rough chunks, then place in a large bowl. Gently stir in sugar, raisins, cinnamon and butter.
In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together evaporated milk, coconut milk and water; cook until hot, then gently stir into bread and spice mix. Set aside until bread is soggy, then add rum (or vanilla) and mix well.
Pour bread pudding into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake 90 minutes (checking every 20 minutes or so to prevent burning), or until the surface of the pudding is crunchy.
Allow pudding to cool completely, and serve.
To veganize + up the nutrients in Belizean bread pudding, try the following substitutions:
• Whole-grain instead of white bread
• Maple syrup or agave in place of white sugar
• Coconut oil instead of butter
• An additional cup coconut milk in place of evaporated milkAny Belizean readers out there? Or readers who’ve spent a lot of time in Belize? What are your favorite dishes?