Ensaymada is made with brioche, a buttery sweet bread that makes an excellent base for bread pudding. So if you have that one-dozen box of ensaymada from your tita lying around, this is the perfect recipe to make.
When soaked in custard—a simple combination of dairy, eggs, and sugar—ensaymada's fluffy crumb soaks everything up like a sponge, and bakes into a tender, almost leche flan-like center. It's light enough for merienda with coffee, and rich enough to cross over into a satisfying post-dinner dessert, sliced thick and topped with vanilla (or cheese!) ice cream.
You can bake your ensaymada bread pudding in either a wide baking dish or a tall loaf pan. A wide dish maximizes the surface area for a golden brown top, while the depth of a loaf pan gets you more of that soft, custardy bread.
This recipe is adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt.
- 5–7 pieces (550g) ensaymada
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 6 eggs
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- powdered sugar, for serving
Prepare for baking: Heat oven to 180°C or 350°F. Lightly grease one 9x13-inch baking dish or two 8x4-inch loaf pans with butter.
Prepare ensaymada: Slice ensaymada into small 1 ½–2 inch cubes. Fill baking pan with ensaymada cubes, tearing pieces to fit as needed. Do not stuff or overcrowd the pan. The ensaymada pieces will expand when it absorbs the custard. You can sprinkle any leftover cheese on top of the pudding.
Make custard: Add white sugar to a bowl. Add eggs and whisk until smooth. Add whole milk, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Whisk to combine.
Add custard to ensaymada: Pour custard evenly over the ensaymada, filling the pan to the rim. If you have leftover custard, let the ensaymada sit and soak up the liquid before topping it off with more.
You can bake the pudding right now, or cover and refrigerate the pudding for 1 hour up to overnight. Save any leftover custard to pour over the pudding before baking.
Bake: Cover pudding with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the top is golden and center looks set; this will take about 10–20 minutes depending on the size of your pan. (If you prefer a nicely browned and crusty top, skip the foil and bake the pudding uncovered.)
Test for doneness by slipping a knife down the center, then pushing the bread aside: there should be little to no liquid custard left.
Rest and serve: Remove pudding from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. The puffy top will deflate as the pudding cools. Slice and serve warm, topped with powdered sugar, if desired.
Cover and store leftover bread pudding in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can serve it cold, or warm it up in the oven or air fryer at 300°F.