Tres leches cake is a sponge cake that is coaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Despite the soaking, the cake base is sturdy enough to hold up without falling apart, which means that the finished cake is extremely moist and yet not soggy. The combination of milks also gives the cake a very distinctive flavor and I was able to capture it for this Tres Leches Bread Pudding.
This might be one of my favorite bread puddings, and it’s incredibly easy to make. The bread pudding uses sweetened condensed milk, milk and heavy cream. I prefer the flavor of regular milk to evaporated milk in the recipe, though you could substitute evaporated milk if you happen to have a can around. The milk trio is combined with eggs and poured over cubes of brioche. Sounds easy? That’s because all the sugar you need for this recipe comes from the sweetened condensed milk, so you don’t really need to add anything else to the mix! The pudding is baked until tender, then chilled and topped with a layer of whipped cream before serving.
When finished, the pudding is not as wet as a traditional tres leches, but it is very moist and tender. It has a wonderful dairy flavor from the combination of milks and just the right amount of sweetness. If you prefer your bread pudding to be served warm, make the whipped cream and serve it on the side instead of spreading it over the top of the dish. Individual slices can easily be warmed up in the microwave before serving to take the chill off, though refrigerating the dish helps the flavors to meld completely after baking.
Tres Leches Bread Pudding
5 cups bread cubes (pref brioche or challah)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 large eggs
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.
Place bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream and eggs.
Pour the milk mixture over the top of the bread cubes. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to gently press the bread down into the custard, making sure that each piece of bread gets a chance to soak up the milk mixture. Allow bread to stand for 10-15 minutes.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the pudding is set and a sharp knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean. Allow the pudding to cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate.
Before serving, beat remaining cup of whipped cream to soft peaks, then blend in confectioners’ sugar. Spread over the bread pudding.