Imagine a cake so tall, its top quivers when you set it on the table. Imagine a cake so light, that biting into it feels like taking a spoonful out of a cloud. Imagine a cake so complex, that you can’t decide if the last taste lingering in your mouth is lemon, vanilla, or caramel. And now, imagine that that cake contains no dairy, no gluten, and that it takes about 15 minutes to put together and uses only common ingredients – and you’ve got yourself my gluten-free, dairy-free Argentinian bread pudding with caramel sauce.
Don’t believe me? Read on.
I have written extensively about my experience travelling to Argentina. Though I only spent a week there, and my agenda was more community work than tourism, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the country and its strange, European-South American energy, architectural mix of modern and ancient, and of course, delicious food. And though there were many dishes to fall in love with, the one I enjoyed the most was undoubtedly flan.
There was not a day that went by in Argentina when I didn’t eat flan. Flan was the dessert of choice at practically every meal: for breakfast, dinner or lunch, drizzled with dulce de leche or served plain, warm and quivering or cold and nestled in little ramekins, flan was the national Argentinian dessert.
However, each time I ate flan, I knew I would soon be suffering. Being both lactose-intolerant and gluten-sensitive, most Argentinian sweets were usually out of the question. So as much as I loved flan, flan just didn’t love me back.
All that changed when I heard about Argentinian bread pudding (similar to Dominican bread pudding). My friend’s husband, an Argentinian immigrant to Israel who is now working in Montreal, bragged about finding a recipe for a cake that his kids loved, that took minutes to whip together, and utilized day-old bread… And ended up tasting like flan.
As soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to give it a try. And as I had half a loaf of gluten-free St-Méthode bread lying on top of my fridge, I also knew exactly how I was going to make this Argentinian bread pudding gluten- and dairy-free.
A few words about St-Méthode gluten-free bread. As a recent convert to a gluten-free diet, bread was one of the things I found hardest to give up. I missed my crusty ciabattas with sabich sandwich filling, quick fancy grilled-cheese dinners, and simple egg on toast.
Once I had my St-Méthode gluten-free loaf, the road to making this Argentinian bread pudding was simple. All I had to do was make the simplest caramel sauce, whisk some eggs and soak bread in almond milk. The cake took about 15 minutes to prepare, and another hour to bake.
The hardest part about this Argentinian bread pudding was waiting until it cooled so I could remove it from the baking tin.
Once that hurdle was passed, I cut myself a large slice, spooned some more caramel sauce on top, and let my spoon dig deeply into this tall, quivering beautiful mess of a cake. And when I tasted it, letting the pudding melt on my tongue and the enjoying the perfect contrast from the golden bread bottom, I knew that I had the perfect gluten-free, dairy-free flan.
And I could eat it as much as I liked.
Full disclosure: I received product and monetary compensation in exchange for this post. However, I am proud to only work with those companies and brands whose products I truly love. And as always, all opinions expressed here are my own; you can always expect me to be honest with you guys!
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Argentinian bread pudding with caramel sauce (gluten-free, dairy-free)
- 75 grams ½ cup of sugar
- ½ cup water
- A squeeze of one lemon slice
for bread pudding
- 7 eggs
- 1 cup of sugar
- 800 ml almond or soy milk warm
- 300 grams of day-old gluten-free St. Methode white loaf bread
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare your bundt cake mold by oiling it well (do not pick a very intricate mold). Preheat oven to 350F.
- To prepare caramel, combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot. Heat on medium heat, until sugar has dissolved and mixture starts to boil. Continue to cook until you achieve a light golden colour. Remove from heat, and pour caramel evenly over all the mould, swirling to let it get everywhere. Leave to cool until caramel hardens.
- Cut bread into small pieces and soak it in warm milk in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with sugar, milk and lemon zest. Add mixture to milk-soaked bread. Pour everything into your bundt cake mold.
- Arrange cake mold in the middle of a baking sheet with 2 inches of water, it in the oven. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the flan comes out clean.
- Let flan cool before attempting to remove it from the pan - this is very important! Once cooled, remove bread pudding from pan. Serve cold or in room temperature, and enjoy!