Pineapple and Pecan Capirotada {Mexican Bread Pudding}

The beauty of Capirotada as compared to European versions of bread pudding is the inclusion of the semi-firm, mild Mexican cheese called Queso Fresco. If you can’t find it you can use Monterey Jack instead.


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound piloncillo or 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 sticks canela or cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 10 cups cubed brioche (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups crumbled queso fresco (about 8 ounces) or Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces


  1. Combine water, piloncillo, canela, and cloves and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring until piloncillo has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep for 2 hours. Strain and discard solids.
  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Arrange cubed bread on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast until golden, about 10 minutes.
  3. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  4. Combine bread, 3/4 of the cheese, pecans, pineapple, and 3/4 of the butter in a large bowl. Pour syrup over and stir until bread is well coated. Transfer to the baking dish and top with remaining cheese, and dot with remaining butter.
  5. Grease a sheet of foil and cover the baking dish with the greased side down. Bake for 40 minutes, uncover and bake for 30-40 minutes more or until cheese is melted and golden on top. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.