I’ve been baking as hobby for the past 15 years and I’ve just now made my first bread pudding. It’s kind of embarrassing, because bread pudding is one of those failproof, go-to desserts that most bakers keep in their arsenal, like a basic chocolate cake or sugar cookie. But I’ve actually got a pretty decent reason (excuse) for why it’s taken me this long to tackle this particular dessert – the thing is, I really, really love bread. If you set a loaf of bread in front of me, you should probably first hack off a couple slices for yourself, because no matter how large the loaf is, I am pretty much guaranteed to devour all of it. By myself. In one sitting. It’s like my hypothalamus (I’m so glad my four years of psychology didn’t go to waste) stops working whenever I’m around bread and I’ll just keep eating it until it’s gone. It’s rather impressive, really. On my resume, under Special Skills, it says able to consume an unlimited amount of baked yeasted dough. Come at me, recruiters!
Banana Bread Bread Pudding
Adapted from Food.com
- 1 loaf banana bread (6 cups toasted and cubed)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2 cups milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 bananas, sliced
- Granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350F. Slice banana bread into 1-inch slices, place onto baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, then cut into cubes.
- Place half the cubes into a baking dish, cover with banana slices, then top with the remaining banana bread.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together half-and-half, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until well blended. Pour over the cubed banana bread in the baking dish.
- Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before putting into the oven, then sprinkle granulated sugar over the top. Bake for 1 hour until custard has set.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Store in refrigerator.
While I do love a good crusty baguette or a hearty braid of challah, I cannot fathom why you would settle for plain bread when you could use BANANA BREAD. Though it’s not technically a bread (more of a loaf cake) since there’s no yeast or proofing, but who really cares about semantics anyways (says the woman whose favorite subject in school was English and almost considered majoring in the subject).
My favorite thing about this recipe is that it calls for toasting the bread beforehand so it’s a bit crisp and sturdy and can stand up to the custard while maintaining its structural integrity (it’s probably a sign that I watch too many cooking shows when I start using terms like “structural integrity” to describe bread, the humblest of baked goods). Even if you skip that step though, banana bread is typically more dense than an average loaf, so the texture won’t be compromised. Thank goodness, right?
Since I’ve never made or had bread pudding before, I really had no idea what the correct proportion of bread to custard was – in this recipe, there’s about 3/4 as much custard as bread, so the tops stay dry and crunchy. If you prefer your bread pudding to be more pudding-like, I would make another half batch of the custard. I totally made a mental note to add in a splash or two of dark rum, but then I forgot because sometimes I put more faith in my own brain than I should. Next time, I’ll definitely add rum, and a little maple syrup too.
I managed to refrain from eating all of this in one sitting, thankfully, even though I kind of wanted to, just to see if I could. It’s amazing fresh out of the oven, but it’s just as good straight from the fridge. This is probably my second favorite way to eat bread, firmly in between tearing it off fresh from the loaf, and toasted with jam.