Coconut Almond Bread Pudding

I am quite keen on cutting corners. My sister will never let me forget that in my fledgling years I persisted on wearing my nightgown the wrong way out every second night.  It made sense to me. Once I’d shirked it over my head in the morning, it inverted itself. And so a labour saving pattern was embedded; right way one night, wrong way the next, right way, wrong way- and so it goes.

Some might call laziness. Others, might see a gleam of supreme efficiency in the making.

These days I’m still keen on getting ahead where I can. It’s there in my confessed reliance on pulses from tins- yes, the flavour of boiling your own chickpeas is far superior, but how many of us really remember to put a bowl onto soak eight hours before we want to start cooking dinner?

I like to fast forward advertisements. And I like to make a cup of tea, then jump in the shower. That way when I get out, my tea has mellowed to the perfect drinkable temperature.

But right now, I’d like to skip ahead about 12 weeks. Or at least have them zip past at double speed.

I realise that when I write ‘I think I’m done with this’ and I only have something that weighs as much as a coconut hanging about inside me, all the women in my life who have patiently have done their time are quietly laughing and smiling.

They’re laughing because they know. They know what’s coming next. I’m as naive as a string of Karen Carpenter lyrics. And they can’t help but see me as Bambi, floundering on the edge of the forest; an innocent who really has no idea what awaits through the foliage.

I think I’m uncomfortable now? I think it’s undignified to wretch up my lunch onto paper towel when a downward dog at the gym coincided with one of the stowaway’s more enthusiastic upward kicking sprees? I think I’m a little tired?

Oh, sweet Tori. Just you wait. You haven’t felt anything yet.

What I am slowly learning to appreciate is that while I might not be able to cut any corners in the next 12 weeks of gestation, I may have to employ a few more in  life at the other end.  There will be less time for multi course meals. Suppers which take one fry pan and six minutes may have to come to the fore for a while. And desserts will have to be simpler.

Which is why this coconut almond bread pudding is a keeper. Yes, of course, if you wanted to you could buy a coconut, drill a hole, reserve the water, make your own coconut milk and shave some of the flesh to adorn the top of the pudding. But most sensible people won’t and shouldn’t.

Instead you’ll buy a tin of coconut milk. You’ll pull out the coconut shavings from the back of the cupboard, or a tired bag of desiccated flakes, from the last time you made lamingtons. Then you’ll combine the milk with three eggs, a little bit of sugar and pour it over five fat slices of white bread. You could substitute croissants. You could use hot cross buns if you fancy. But any fluffy bloomer loaf is perfect. And over the top you’ll fashion a rustic crumble of flaked almonds, coconut, sugar and butter.

Then you’ll put it in the oven for 35 minutes. And it will be just lovely. The coconut and the almond meld together into cosy softness. It’s stodgy and healing, filling and pleasing. It’s nursery food, but with a slightly exotic edge. You might want to add some roasted or poached stone fruits or figs on the side. You might feel the need for a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. But really, it’s golden as is, with a pleasing crackle of texture from the crumble on the top.

It’s smart enough for friends, quick enough for a school night and it’s even comforting enough to be eaten cold for breakfast- no matter which way out you’ve got your nightgown turned.

Coconut Almond Bread Pudding

Serves 6-8


1 baking dish, the size of a sheet of A4 paper.


1 tbsp butter for greasing the dish
5  thick slices of white bread (slices around 1.5 cm thick from a bloomer loaf is great)/around 6 loosely packed cups of cubed white bread
1x 400 ml tin of coconut milk
1/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs

1/2 cup of flaked coconut shards (can substitute with desiccated coconut if needed)
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup of white sugar
70 grams of unsalted butter

 Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F.

2) Use the tablespoon of butter to grease the baking dish well.

3) Cut the bread into one inch cubes.

4) In a bowl whisk together the coconut milk, sugar and eggs until smooth.

5) Roughly tumble the bread into the greased baking dish and pour over the coconut custard mix, pressing down to help it distribute evenly across the bread.

6) In a small bowl add the butter and sugar and  mash it together into a bit of a paste.

7) Use your fingers to combine this with the flaked almonds and coconut shards.

8) Scatter the coconut/almond batter over the top of the sodden bread.

9) Bake for 35 -40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean. If at 15-20 minutes the top is getting too brown, cover with foil.  You want a golden tan and some burnished bits, but you don’t want the almonds and coconut to scorch.

10) Serve warm with ice cream, stone fruits or just on its own. Also quite nice cool and cut into small cubes to have with a cup of tea.


Forty Weeks of Feasting

Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far.

Week 27: Szechuan Pork Noodles with Smacked Cucumber Salad. Recipe here.
Week 26: Jicama, Chicken and Cashew Salad. Recipe here.


Week 25: Corndogs. Recipe here.
Week 24: Eggplant Moussaka. Recipe here
Week 23 Candied Grapefruit Peel and Dark Chocolate Cookies. Recipe here
Week 22 Roast Carrot and Hummus Soup. Recipe here.
Week 21. Spiced Pomegranate Meatballs with Mint and White Beans. Recipe here.
Week 20 Banana Berry Flax Muffins. Recipe here.
Week 19 Mango Pudding. Recipe here


Week 18 Sweet Potato, Red Onion and Feta Pie. Recipe here


Week 17 Red Pepper, Chicken, Onion and Date Tagine. Recipe here.


Week 16 Avocado Mint Salsa with Pea and Mozzarella Quesadillas. Recipe here.


Week 15 Orange, Polenta and Rosemary Cake. Recipe here.


Wk 14 Lemon Creme Fraiche and Parmesan Pasta. Recipe here


Wk 13 Clementine/Mandarin Curd. Recipe here.
Wk 12 Plum and tomato tartines. Recipe here


Wk 11 Sprout and mushroom gratin (in which we come out of the closet). Recipe here
Wk 10 Date tart. Recipe here
Wk 9 Roasted grapes with baby chickens. Recipe here.


Wk 8 Raspberries and elderflower spritz. Recipe here.


Wk 7 Blueberry pancakes. Recipe here
Wk 6 Lentil and ginger soup. Recipe here
Wk 5 Sesame Miso Crisps. Recipe here
Wk 4 Poppy seed scrolled loaf. Recipe here.
  1. I hate being that woman who smirks when a first-time expecting mother or the mother to a newborn say something naive. I mean, I admit that I sometimes smirk on the inside, but I was a new mom too and I believe we should all be able to experience pregnancy and a first child with all the ingenuity that this adventure comes with, because no other pregnancy or time will be the same: incredible, wonderous, exciting, scary. I hated it when everybody knew more and better than me and wouldn’t allow me to do/feel things my way. So enjoy it (and many more pillowy puddings liek this one).

  2. This recipe is supreme! I have all of those ingredients in my cupboard (lamingtons) and it is cold here. This needs to be made.

  3. Jay Warren on 18 May 2013

    Oh wow. Just made the Coconut Almond bread pudding for my friend’s birthday dinner. Served with baked plums and vanilla ice-cream, it was truly delicious. The topping is crunchy and sweet, the inside is soft and plump. I used a pack of hot cross buns as they were idling in the freezer and they were perfect. Can’t wait to finish it up tomorrow!

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