Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

Bananas Foster Bread PuddingSuper Mardi Gras

The Super Bowl is this weekend, and if you read last week’s post you already know that I am indifferent. But there is something else coming up that I find I am excited about…Mardi Gras is Tuesday.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler, Y’all!

I have never experienced a New Orleans Mardi Gras in person, and I am of split mind as to whether I would want to. It’s possible that I am just too old, and missed the opportunity when I was in my twenties. I would definitely do it for the food and cocktails, and I have no problem with people wanting to throw jewelry at me, but I do draw the line at flashing people to make it happen. Plus, that barely-controlled chaos vibe doesn’t appeal to me. (Unless it’s a stampede for beignets…that I can get behind.)

Making “theme dinners” mid-week can be challenging, so I’m combining Super Bowl with Mardi Gras to cover all bases. The hardest part is picking what to make. I love Cajun and Creole food. (Jambalaya, Gumbo, Crawfish, Muffaletta…yum!) But, I have to make something everyone will eat. If there is okra in it, my husband will have lawyers on the phone. Too spicy, and the kids won’t touch it—unless it has sausage, maybe. So I’m still brainstorming that one…

Anything sweet is eaten without complaint, so I will be making this dessert, a favorite of my sister’s. It calls for day-old French bread. I have made it with croissants as well—just that much more decadent. You could even do it with banana bread if you really like bananas (but expect it to be pretty rich). Feel free to nix the banana liqueur; you’ve gotta have the rum, though. You could even serve it buffet style for your Super Bowl crowd.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network
Yields 10 to 12 servings

9 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 firm-ripe bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch thick slices
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/2 cup dark rum
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch salt
6 cups (1/2-inch cubes) day-old French bread
Vanilla ice cream
Caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Using on tablespoon of the butter, grease a 10” x 14” baking dish, and set it aside.

Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the brown sugar and the cinnamon. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, or for about 2 minutes. Add the bananas, and lightly brown them on both sides, turning. The bananas should soften. This takes about 3 minutes. If using, add the banana liqueur and stir to blend. Carefully add the rum and shake the pan back and forth to warm the rum and flame the pan. (You can also turn off the heat, and carefully ignite the rum with a match before returning the pan to the heat.) Shake the pan back and forth, basting the bananas, until the flame dies. Remove from the heat and let the bananas cool.

While the bananas are cooling whisk together the eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, the cream, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the cooled banana mixture and bread, and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and bake until firm. This should take 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

To serve, scoop the pudding onto dessert plates. Top each serving with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle with caramel sauce, and serve immediately.

We love Stonewall Kitchen’s Sea Salt Caramel Sauce, or you can make your own. Here is a great recipe and video here on Saveur.

And for the vanilla ice cream, we recommend Three Twins Madagascar Vanilla.


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