When I visited En Boga Gastrobar for Puerto Rico Restaurant Week, one of their featured desserts was a bread pudding made with mallorcas (ensaimadas) – a sweet enriched bread. I didn’t get to try it but my sister did and gave it rave reviews. It became an item in my unofficial to-cook list until last Sunday. I made a stop on a whim on my way back from the farmers market to our friendly neighborhood panadería, Moncho Pan. They bake the largest mallorcas I had ever seen. It’s impossible for these pastries not to catch your eye – they are right by the register and they are just so big when compared to the other mallorcas in the area.
The bread puddings from my childhood were made with stale pan de agua, a large crusty loaf, and dotted with raisins. They were not my favorite desserts in the family repertoire – maybe it was the dense texture or the raisins. I was floored when I made it to New Orleans and saw that most restaurants had a signature version: white chocolate, bananas Foster, bourbon pecan, even bread pudding soufflé. The old school budines could not hold a candle to these lighter versions and the delicious sauces that accompanied them.
This mallorca bread pudding recipe is an adaptation from Dorie Greenspan’s bourbon bread pudding. To continue with the Puerto Rican twists, I swapped the bourbon for spicy dark rum and added extra cinnamon. The sauce on the side is a coconut creme anglaise. Creme anglaise is basically a custard sauce made with eggs, sugar and cream. This one had a little coconut milk for flavor. I will definitely be revisiting this recipe during the holidays this year: a bite of the mallorca bread pudding with sauce tastes like just like coquito, the Puerto Rican version of eggnog.