It all started with a craving for bread pudding and an emergency substitution of coconut milk for regular milk ... One idea led to another, and pretty soon we were whipping up a dessert rich with the Indian-inspired flavors of coconut, cardamom, and pistachio. In fact, we loved this coconut version so much that we never returned to making bread pudding with plain old cow's milk!
The first time we made this, we added golden raisins but those have since been replaced with candied ginger, which pairs even more wonderfully with the pistachios and cardamom. We also like using jaggery, a full-flavored, unrefined sugar found in Indian markets, but if you don't already have it in your pantry, regular granulated sugar is fine. As for the bread, any odds and ends of stale bread will do – brioche, challah, even whole wheat sandwich bread (as we've used in these pictures). Serve it warm with a scoop of coconut ice cream if you're feeling really decadent!
Makes 1 9x7 or 8x8 pan
1 tablespoon butter
6 slices bread, dry or lightly toasted and torn into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups)
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
3 large eggs
1 cup jaggery (or 3/4 cup granulated sugar)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 325°.
Butter a 9x7 or 8x8 baking dish. Arrange the bread pieces in the dish and evenly sprinkle the pistachios and ginger on top.
In another bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, eggs, jaggery or sugar, cardamom, and salt.
Pour the coconut milk mixture over the bread, pressing down with a spoon or fork to make sure all the bread gets soaked.
Bake for 45 minutes or until set. The center should spring back when lightly touched.
Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
(Images: Emily Ho)