I don’t own a kitchen blow torch but I’m super impressed with anyone who does. To be honest I don’t really trust myself to set anything aflame in a controlled manner. Reference Thanksgiving Pie Explosion of 2013 for further evidence. But I really do love bananas foster. This recipe was safe enough for a kitchen spaz (me) and also incredibly delicious. Well, it was eventually delicious. When the bread pudding came out of the oven we were all incredibly eager to give it a try only to discover that it tasted a little…. weird? Something was off and I was disappointed. But after about a day in the refrigerator the flavors really came together and the consistency improved. So here’s my pitch: make this and put it in the refrigerator, forget that it even happened, return to the fridge the next day pleasantly surprised by the masterful bananas/pudding/caramel sauce combination someone stashed away for you. I think it’s called selective memory but that might not be a real thing.
Recipe adapted from the New York Times
2 cups skim milk
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 tsp kosher salt
6 cups cubed challah bread (about half a regular loaf)
5 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into coins
1 tablespoon white sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup dark rum
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice bananas. Whatever thickness strikes your fancy is fine but mine were about ¼ inch thick. Cut bread into large cubes. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, rum and salt. Soak bread in the egg mixture for at least 5 minutes.
Butter a 2 quart baking dish (I used a glass pyrex). Put a layer of sliced bananas on the bottom of the dish. Add half of the soaked bread. Add the rest of the bananas then the rest of the bread.
Bake for about 40 minutes on a baking sheet (just in case). Remove from oven and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. The pudding will be browned on top and puffy. Let cool, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
Before serving, make sauce:
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. When butter is melted add brown sugar, heavy cream, rum, and salt. Whisk until the sauce becomes a bit thicker. You may notice that there’s rummy steam as the alcohol cooks off. It kind of made me cough so I guess I recommend keeping your face away unless you’re feeling like some weird experimentation with rum vapor. Not recommended.
The sauce took me about 10 minutes to thicken.
Serve squares of the bread pudding with warm sauce. Vanilla ice cream encouraged.