So this is what you do with that stale loaf of challah bread. Whaaat, you don’t have a stale loaf? Because you ate it all? I know, I know, it’s good stuff. I had to hide our second loaf, my husband and I polished off the first one in a space of an evening. Okay, maybe it was half gone when he got home, whatever. So, go make some more challah, and let’s get on with the show. The Bread Pudding show.
Really, this recipe happened because my husband started eating bananas a few months ago–but never quite finishes the whole bunch–so the freezer is groaning under the weight of extra, over-ripe ‘nanners, just screaming out to be baked and custarded. Custarded? Mmm, that sounds sublime. Also, I’ve had this tickling in the back of my brain about doing a series of bread pudding posts–savory, sweet, yadda yadda (does one post make a series?)–and thus, this recipe was born. And eaten. Oh, yes, it was eaten.
Because we’re talking bananas, in a baked good, well . . . there simply had to be chocolate chips. And walnuts. It’s like the trifecta of baking: bananas, chocolate, walnuts. And because we’re talking bread pudding, there had to be Bourbon Caramel Sauce, natch. However, you could certainly leave off the caramel sauce and dash a couple tablespoons of bourbon into the bread pudding itself–simpler, and also dee-lish. Or leave the bourbon out entirely. I understand. Totally your call.
Oh, and really I only titled the post “Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding” because “Banana Bread Pudding” sounds like a bread pudding made with banana bread. Which this is not. There you have it.
Banana Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- 3 medium extra ripe bananas, mashed
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 to 6 cups cubed stale bread (preferably a rich bread like challah)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Bourbon Caramel Sauce (below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a layer of the stale bread cubes in the bottom of a large casserole dish, then top with a sprinkle of chocolate chips and walnuts. Cover with another layer of bread, followed by chocolate chips and walnuts; continue layering until your dish is full. In a separate bowl, mix together bananas, eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until fully combined. Very carefully and slowly, pour the banana mixture over the bread layers in your casserole dish. If you’ve packed your bread cubes into the dish, you may need to take a fork and poke around into the layers to make more room for the custard. Keep pouring and poking until as much custard as you can get in the dish is in there, without overfilling. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour (depending on the size/depth of your dish). The pudding should be browned on top and not liquidy when a knife is inserted in the center. The knife should also feel hot all the way to the tip when removed from the pudding.
Serve warm with whipped cream, ice cream, Bourbon Caramel Sauce, or nothing at all!
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
This is simply another version of Salted Butter Caramel, feel free to make it your own!
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp bourbon (more or less as you like)
Place the sugar in shallow layer in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt over medium heat until completely liquid, then watch carefully, swirling the contents of the pan often, until the sugar is a dark amber color and smells almost burnt. Remove from heat; sprinkle salt over surface. Add butter and whisk quickly to incorporate. Slowly add cream (watch out for steam!), whisking the entire time, until you have a smooth caramel sauce. Return to heat if the mixture seizes or doesn’t become smooth. Whisk in bourbon. Cool slightly before serving.