Concha are shell-shaped Mexican sweet bread often sold in Hispanic markets, and sometimes available at local taco trucks. These pan dulce are not significantly sweet, yet have a crunchy colorful top that is probably the most recognizable sweet bread of Mexico. I have been enjoying them for many years and in fact, it’s one of my favorite treats to eat for breakfast with a cup of hot coffee. The fluffy interior topped with a sugar dusted shell makes them great for dunking in hot beverages, but also a good candidate for bread pudding because they can absorb a custard cream so splendidly.
Bread pudding is a classic dessert served around holiday time, but my seasonal version using conchas and a coco-nutty custard blend of eggs, sweetened condensed milk, half & half and coconut milk, makes it a perfect springtime dessert. The conchas work just like an egg bread and delicately absorb the custard, leaving a pudding-like center that’s infused with creamy coconut flavor. A sprinkling of sweetened coconut adds yet another layer of texture and taste, making this creation a most desired treat.
I served this bread pudding for dessert, and then again for breakfast because who doesn’t love a warm bread pudding any time of day? I also whipped up a batch of fresh cream to dollop on top to create yet another layer of incredible creamy mouthfeel. The cream topping is not essential, but yes, so seductive.
4 conchas, or 2/3 loaf egg bread, cubed
4 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup half & half
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup sweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 heavy cream + 1 tablespoon sugar, whipped together – for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed conchas on a sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, half & half, sweetened condensed milk, sweetened coconut, and almond extract.
- In an oiled 8 x 8 casserole dish, add conchas. Pour custard mixture over top and press down with fingers to submerge. After 15 minutes, place an oiled piece of foil over top and set on sheet pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes, remove foil and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden on top. Remove and let cool 40 minutes before serving. Whip cream together, if using.
- Serve warm or room temperature with cream, if desired. Enjoy!