The Eldest Son loves bread pudding. Since he was going to be around, and I had some day old bread around, I thought, why not? I also had some very ripe bananas around, and I thought…hmmm, why wouldn’t these two flavors work well together? And they did! This goes together rather quickly, which is a bonus when you’re racing out the door to pick The Youngest Son up from the airport. I set the stove for timed bake, made the water bath and put it in the oven while the preheat was happening, then threw the bread pudding together, into the oven and off to the airport! Whew, I need to lay down a minute! It worked well, and when The Eldest Son arrived later, everyone decided they preferred the bread pudding cold anyway, so it will be dessert tomorrow night. Or perhaps breakfast. Why not? It’s bread, eggs, milk and bananas.
This is a my basic bread pudding. I usually go by sight and don’t measure, but I thought you might prefer it if I measured and there was less left to chance. The Goddess gets it that not everyone is completely willing to throw caution that far to the wind! Anyway, this is my basic bread pudding. I just added the bourbon instead of an equal amount of milk and I added the over-ripe bananas. Many time I’ll throw in a handful of dried cranberries or other dried fruit. I’ve added cooked plums and apple slices and sometimes I add coarsely chopped nuts. I had some blueberry-apricot sauce leftover from some ice cream I made, and it was surprising how good a little dollop was.
Banana-Bourbon Bread Pudding
- 5 eggs, well beaten
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup sugar (either white or light brown)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- Pinch of salt
- 4-5 cups cubed dry-ish bread, lightly toasted
- 3-4 over-ripe bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
- Maple sugar, for sprinkling (you may use white or light brown)
- Vietnamese cinnamon for dusting
Beat the eggs, milk, cream, bourbon, sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt together until well combined.
Toss in the bread cubes; stir and let stand for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a deep soufflé dish with cooking spray and set aside. Make a water bath that will hold the prepared bowl (add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar to the pan with the water, if it is aluminum—this will prevent darkening of the pan); place the pan in the oven.
Spoon about 1/3 of the bread cubes into the prepared soufflé dish. Lay half of the banana slices on top and gently push down. Just bend to more or less fit. Don’t worry if they don’t cover the entire area. Add another 1/3 of the bread cubes and the remaining banana slices, gently push down and cover with the remaining bread cubes. Pour the liquid over the whole thing, sprinkle with the sugar, dust lightly with the cinnamon and place the filled dish in the water bath in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center is almost set.
Remove the pudding from the oven (you’ll want to remove the water bath, pour out the water, but use caution because it’s very hot and place the bread pudding on a cooling grate or a cold burner). Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving or completely cool, cover and chill. Serve with whipped cream or crème Anglaise. A caramel sauce is also a nice addition, as this dessert isn’t too sweet.
Banana-Bourbon Bread Pudding Recipe©Marcia Lahens. All rights reserved.
Beat the eggs, add the milk, cream, bourbon and vanilla. You can use Irish whiskey or rum, instead of the bourbon, if that’s what you have. Or leave it out and add an extra 1/2 cup of milk instead. Add the toasted bread cubes and push them down into the liquid. They will float initially, but after about 10 minutes they will float less and you don’t want them too mushed up anyway.
When you layer the bananas, don’t worry too much if they completely cover the bread layers. The Goddess isn’t too OCD about this sort of thing; just evenly distribute the banana halves. By the way, you can add some fresh blueberries with the bananas, if that suits you.
Now, just pour any remaining liquid over the bread, sprinkle with whatever sugar you choose and a nice light dusting of cinnamon. The Goddess is partial to Vietnamese cinnamon, but use regular, if that’s all you have. The next time you are in The Spice Mill, or wherever you purchase your spices, pick up some of the Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon. Be warned, there’s no going back to regular cinnamon once you’ve tried the really good stuff!