Grapefruit & Coconut Bread Pudding

Baked grapefruit? I was skeptical, yet I did not let that stop me. And I am quite pleased to report I loved this breakfast. Or desert. Which I ate for breakfast.

While most of the blogs I enjoy reading have switched to a theme of vegetable recipes to cure their readers’ holiday hangovers and assumed weight gain, I continue to eat dessert for breakfast three days in to January. Despite my still-tight pants, it is wonderful. I am calling this my acceptance (as opposed to desiring change) phase.

In addition to baking citrus, grapefruit and coconut did not strike me as all that stellar of a pair. According to The Flavor Bible, which I now own (whoop whoop!), the two can go together, but it is a third-tier pairing at best. This is opposed to sugar which is the most acceptable complement to grapefruit. (Really authors, sugar is the only top flavor pairing you could come up with for grapefruit?) Fortunately for me, who could happily eat grapefruit every day, other desirable flavors like ginger and Champagne also go very well with the fruit.

The tart grapefruit flavor and sweet coconut complement each other very well in this dish, and the nutmeg adds just enough something to keep it interesting. In case you are wondering, nutmeg doesn’t even make the grapefruit list, but it is listed a third-tier flavor pairing for coconut.

Grapefruit & Coconut Bread Pudding 019_Edited

All this talk of flavors will likely make my sister groan in despair as she reads this. When I opened the Christmas gift that turned out to be my new book, her comment was something along the lines of “oh great, now we’ll probably be reading about that.” Yes. Yes you will.

For all intents and purposes, this dish is a bread pudding. I simply like the panache the name Brunch Bread lends to the recipe. An egg-soaked bread casserole, loaded with cheese and ham, is well known to me, and this is simply its sweet counterpart loaded with grapefruit and coconut flavor.

Because the bread needs time to soak up the delicious coconut milk, this dish is not something to pull together for a quick brunch. On the other hand, it is easily prepared with dinner the night before and popped into the oven to bake the following morning. While you wait you can sip on another grapefruit brunch winner, the Grapefruit Slush. Enjoy!

Grapefruit & Coconut Bread Pudding

Coconut Grapefruit Brunch Bread
  • For the Brunch Bread
  • 3 cups Italian or French bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1½ cups pink grapefruit sections, well-drained
  • 1, 13.5 oz can coconut or light coconut milk
  • ¼ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • For the Topping
  • 2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  1. Layer the bread cubes in an 8 x 8 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare the grapefruit by removing all pith and membranes. Layer the fruit on top of the bread.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, brown sugar, eggs, coconut extract, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Gently pour the mixture over the grapefruit and bread.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least eight hours.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, covering with foil if the top becomes too brown.
  7. While the brunch bread bakes, prepare the topping by combining the remaining ingredients.
  8. Rub the butter into the topping until it looks like small pebbles.
  9. After the initial 30 minutes of baking, sprinkle the topping over the brunch bread and return to the oven for an additional 20-30 minutes. Again, cover the dish with foil if the top becomes too brown. When done, all liquid will have been absorbed and the bread pudding will appear firm (not jiggly).
  10. Allow the hot dish to sit for 10 minutes before serving warm, or serve at room temperature.
It is very important to take the time to remove the grapefruit sections from its membranes. This is typically very easy to do and will avoid a tough, chewy bite of fruit. To keep your fingers from going numb when peeling, use a grapefruit at room temperature (as opposed to one sitting in the refrigerator). It is also important to allow the grapefruit to drain before layering it over the bread. I simply set my peeled fruit in a collander for a while, but I see no reason allowing the fruit to sit on a paper towel would not work as well.

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