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The Kitchn: Got extra bananas? Make this decadent banana bread pudding
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The Kitchn: Got extra bananas? Make this decadent banana bread pudding

From the 5 quick and easy meals to make this week series
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Using leftover French bread gives the custard a chance to settle into the nooks and crannies of the bread.

Banana bread pudding is a delectable new way to use up slightly ripened bananas and day-old bread. As an alternative to your go-to quick bread, this custard-based recipe — with all of the same flavors as its namesake — is an excellent brunch or dessert option for using up aging bananas. Although it is exceptional on its own, a warm rum toffee sauce makes it even more decadent.

Why is stale bread better for bread pudding?

Using leftover French bread gives the custard a chance to settle into the nooks and crannies of the bread. It also helps to avoid a soggy mess.

Tips for making banana bread pudding

  • Use bananas that are slightly mottled with brown spots. These bananas are full of great banana flavor, but won’t fall apart when sliced. In this recipe, two mashed bananas are incorporated into the milk custard, while the remaining banana is sliced and dotted on top of the bread pudding.
  • Adding the banana slices before baking gives the sugar a chance to caramelize, creating a caramel-like flavor in your final dessert.
  • The addition of dark rum gives the dish a bananas Foster vibe, which is accentuated by the rum toffee sauce.
  • Beginning the toffee sauce with dark brown sugar cuts down on cooking time dramatically and makes this boozy topping easier to make.
  • Use a quality dark Jamaican rum, like Meyer’s, for the tastiest results.

Do you serve bread pudding hot or cold?

Bread pudding is best served warm — especially if you’re thinking of topping it with a cold scoop of ice cream. I usually allow it to cool for 15 minutes before scooping and serving. To reheat leftover bread pudding, heat your serving in the microwave for 15 seconds on high heat.

Banana Bread Pudding Recipe

Serves 8

For the banana bread pudding:

  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large yellow bananas, mottled with brown flecks, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (1-pound) loaf day-old French bread

For the rum toffee sauce:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F. Meanwhile, cut 1/2 stick unsalted butter into a few pieces and place in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, about 20 seconds. Transfer 2 teaspoons to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and brush to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside the remaining melted butter.

Make the banana custard:

1. Place 1 cup of packed dark brown sugar and 2 of the large bananas in a large bowl. Mash the bananas into the sugar with a fork until mostly smooth with no large chunks. Add the reserved melted butter, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, if using. Mix with the fork until you have a thick paste.

2. Add 3 cups whole milk, 2 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, 1/4 cup dark rum and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk until well-combined, about 1 minute.

3. Cut 1 loaf of day-old French bread into 1-inch cubes. Add to the banana mixture and gently fold together with a large kitchen spoon, making sure each cube is coated. Let sit until the bread has soaked up most of the custard, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the remaining banana crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

4. Pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Nestle the sliced bananas cut-side up into the mixture. Bake until the bread is puffed and golden-brown, and the bananas are slightly browned, about 1 hour. (If your baking dish is less than 4 inches deep, the butter may bubble up and over the sides of the baking dish. Place the baking dish on top of a baking sheet before baking.) Meanwhile, make the rum toffee sauce.

Make the rum toffee sauce:

1. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until it resembles caramel, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Turn off the heat and very carefully pour in 3 tablespoons dark rum. (Be careful: The mixture will steam and bubble up.) Whisk the rum into the sugar. Bring back to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until slightly darkened in color, about 1 minute.

3. Turn off the heat. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and whisk to combine. Let sit at room temperature until ready to serve.

4. When the bread pudding is ready, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes (it will deflate slightly). Serve with the rum toffee sauce poured over each serving.

Recipe notes

The alcohol in the dark rum in the sauce will not cook off completely (in the event you’re serving it to young children or people who are abstaining from alcohol).

Store the baked and cooled banana bread pudding covered in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat leftover servings of banana bread pudding in the microwave until warmed through.

(Marta Rivera Diaz is a contributor to TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com.)

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