Ohhh yeah … you’re seeing that right. Today’s recipe, just in time for the holidays, is a banana bread pudding with caramel sauce. Start letting those bananas over-ripen now, folks. This is not a drill.
I mean, look at that oozy, glossy sauce just drizzled into every nook and cranny of this golden-crusted banana bread pudding. Care to get some oohs and aahs at the dinner table? Save the sauce pouring for the dining table. Folks really like a show, and this caramel sauce poured over a piping hot banana bread pudding doesn’t disappoint.
I dreamt up this idea to make a banana bread pudding because we always have overripe bananas in the house. I feel like banana consumption in our family is, like the stock market, impossible to predict. Every week I start out with ten bananas in our grocery cart. Sometimes those ten bananas are gone by the next morning. Other times I can’t give these guys away with a used car.
As a result of all these errant bananas, I bake banana bread pretty regularly. Sure, I could stop including bananas in our weekly shop, but bananas are so crazy cheap that I feel like it’s a no-brainer to have them on hand. I need them just in case a child starts melting down in front of the kitchen at 5:00 pm claiming that I’m “starving” him or her to death. Not that it ever happens, of course.
I finally settled on this great recipe from Genius Kitchen as a starting point for my banana bread pudding with caramel sauce. Our kitchen happened to be stuffed to the gills with leftover baguettes due to a gross miscalculation in how many carbs 40 ravenous seven-year-olds would actually eat at a birthday party. Here’s a pro tip: they don’t. They gobble sugar.
Anyway, French baguette doesn’t make the best bread pudding necessarily — it’s very crusty and devoid of that delicious food we call fat. Softer, yet stale, breads usually yield more custardy bread puddings, but I got around this issue by soaking the French baguette in milk and egg for an hour and a half. The milk mixture softened the bread enough to turn the bread into almost a custard, which baked up beautifully.
The caramel sauce I made is a slightly salted version from Jamie Oliver. It’s easy to make and yields enough that I had plenty of caramel sauce for not one, but two banana bread puddings. Because why make one bread pudding when you can have two?
- For the bread pudding:
- 1 large stale baguette or French bread, cubed,with crust on
- 1 quart milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 4 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated,if possible
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- For the salted caramel sauce:
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Pinch kosher salt
- Put the cued bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the milk over it. Lightly cover the bowl and let the bowl stand for at least 1 hour until the milk is mostly absorbed into the bread.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Fold the mixture into the bread, then add the mashed bananas, spices and raisins and stir until just incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and bake for around an hour until the top of the bread pudding is golden brown.
- While the banana bread pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce. Put a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat and add the water. Pour the sugar in and bring the mixture to a boil until the sugar starts to turn golden brown.
- Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove the pan from heat and let stand for a few minutes. Stir in the vanilla and heavy whipping cream, then whisk in the butter or salt. Pour the sauce into sterilized jars if keeping for awhile (up to 1 month) or into a Tupperware container once completely cool.
- To serve, pour the caramel sauce over the banana bread pudding just before serving.