Goodness, it's been awhile!
Well, it's my blog and I'll pause if I want to, pause if I want to, paaaause if I want to... You would pause too if it..., er, never mind! :-)
So. This weekend I was pondering what to do with three perfectly good ripe bananas that a guest had left with us. The one thing I knew was that I did not want to make banana bread.
But really, what else can you do with ripe bananas? I ask you.
I turned to Google and searched for "banana bread alternative". There were a few different recipes for Banana Bread Pudding. So I took elements of three different versions to create my own recipe, presented here. Which, to make a long story short, turned out very tasty indeed.
Banana Bread Pudding
3 c milk
3 c bread cubes (suggested bread: sourdough baguette*)
1 c sugar, scant (suggest 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 light brown sugar)
3 medium size ripe bananas, mashed
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Lightly grease a 9x13" or 10x12" baking pan (glass suggested)
*Note on suggested bread: I made this recipe using sourdough baguette for the bread, and it turned out perfect, because the bread has lots of leathery crust that stands up to the soaking and retains a lot of texture. The sourdough flavor adds some zing, too. You can certainly try other breads, though.
Cube the baguette into bite sized pieces until you have 3 to 3-1/2 cups of cubed bread. Place the bread in a bowl and pour the 3 cups of milk over it. Stir until all bread cubes are soaked, cover and set aside. The bread cubes should soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until well mixed and frothy. Add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, whisking until the mixture is smooth after each addition. Add the mashed banana and whisk or stir until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla, grated nutmeg and cinnamon and mix thoroughly.
Now add the bread and milk mixture to the banana mixture and fold together until evenly mixed. Pour the pudding into the greased pan and dot the top with butter. Bake at 325 degree F for approximately 70 minutes.
Test for doneness by inserting a knife into the center of the pudding. It should come out clean. You can also move the pan back and forth just a bit to see if the center jiggles like jello rather than like liquid; it's usually pretty easy to tell if it's done this way. Since this is a custard based recipe, you do want to avoid overcooking, and also avoid baking it at a higher temperature!
Remove from the oven when done and allow to cool to a warm temperature before serving.
If you would like to serve with brandy sauce, you can prepare this while the pudding is cooling:
In a small saucepan, melt together 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) butter and 1 cup light brown sugar. After the butter melts and the mixture is stirred evenly, cook on low heat for another 3 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Now add: 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract, and 1/4 cup brandy. Bring the mixture back just to the boil, then leave on low heat for another 5 minutes or so.
When the pudding is cool enough to serve, spoon it into a bowl and pour some of the brandy sauce on top. You can also serve it with ice cream or whipped cream, or just by itself!