Recipe: Budín de Pan Argentino (Argentinian Bread Pudding)

By Aldi Alarcon of Casa Gaucho

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click to enlarge Aldi Alarcon of Casa Gaucho.
SARAH LOVETT
Aldi Alarcon of Casa Gaucho.

Originating from the need to use leftover bread, budín de pan is a traditional dessert in Argentina. Approximately 92 percent of present-day Argentineans are Catholics, those for whom throwing away bread is a sin. My grandmother shared her special recipe with me recently and explained that with its humble ingredients, including stale bread, it was one of the only ways they could afford to eat sweets when she was a little girl. Perfected for over more than 80 years and four generations, this family recipe for budin de pan is guaranteed to be your own little slice of heaven.

Ingredients:
Caramel:
150 g granulated sugar

Budín:
200 g day-old bread, cut into two-by-two inch chunks
1 qt whole milk
1 stick cinnamon
1 whole lemon, zested
1 whole orange, zested
2 whole cloves
150 g granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 tbsp Mexican vanilla

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat, add 150g of granulated sugar. Allow the sugar to slowly caramelize; keep stirring to a minimum to avoid clumps. Once the sugar has turned a golden-brown color, immediately pour into the bottom of a nine-inch round glass pan and tilt to coat the bottom and sides while it is still hot.

Place day-old bread in large bowl.

Add whole milk to a large pot on low heat. Add cinnamon stick, lemon zest, orange zest and whole cloves. Allow milk to warm and infuse with the flavors.

Once the milk is warm, add 150 g of sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Do not allow milk to boil.

After the milk is infused with your ingredients, pull out the cinnamon stick and cloves and pour infused milk over the two-inch chunks of bread, making sure to cover all the bread, so it soaks in the milk. Set aside the mixture to cool completely.

In a separate container add eggs and Mexican vanilla and mix. Set aside.

Add the cooled milk and bread mixture to a blender and process until completely smooth.

Slowly add egg and vanilla mixture to blender with the infused milk and bread mixture and continue to blend until it is combined evenly. This is your budin mixture.

Pour the completed mixture into the receptacle that you previously prepared with the caramel in the bottom.

Place the dish containing the budin mixture inside a larger oven-safe receptacle such as a roasting pan, and pour water halfway up the side of the container (bain-marie).

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, depending on your oven. You may cover the top of the budin with aluminum foil, so it does not become too dark. Remove from oven once fully cooked and allow to cool 
completely.

Flip your receptacle onto a plate to unmold your budin de pan and enjoy!

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