Chocolate Banana Bread Bread Pudding

19 Oct

Today I was going to tell you about:

I love banana bread.  My mom used to make it all the time when I was little.  There were always brown bananas in the freezer, and her banana bread was to die for with a little spread of cream cheese.  Mmmm.  So it brings back great childhood memories for me.

You definitely have everything you need in your kitchen (as soon as you have ripe bananas), and it dirties up a minimum of dishes.  All you need is a large bowl, a fork to stir everything with, a few measuring cups, and the loaf pan you bake it in.  Oh yeah, and a bowl to melt butter in.

That is only if you remember to add butter of course.

I could never be a great pastry chef because I’m not very good at following recipes.  When you make savory dishes, you can (and should) taste while you go.  You can add more salt and more seasonings, and if you forget something, you can almost always add it in later.

When you forget to add the butter to banana bread and don’t realize until it’s already halfway cooked in the oven, there’s no way to recover.  *sigh*

But all is not lost!  Because even when something doesn’t turn out great while baking, there are ways to repurpose…

I was already planning to make a dessert for tonight since we had some relatives coming over.  I was thinking cupcakes, but this slightly botched banana bread presented me another opportunity.

“Bread pudding!” I cried out at breakfast, “That bread is already going to be dry!”

It was perfect.

I warn you now, bread pudding is time intensive, but it’s not a difficult process…mostly waiting.  You get your bread stale (wait), then wait some more while it absorbs custard, then bake for around an hour.  If you’ve got stale bread though, why not put it to use?

—-

First, dice up one loaf of banana bread.  Honestly, this bread didn’t taste too bad.  It wasn’t soft and buttery, but the texture was still breadlike (not dense or gummy).

I left it out on the counter uncovered for a few hours to dry it out (alternatively, use stale bread, or bake at 325 until dry…at least 30 minutes)

Then make the custard.  You could totally do this all by hand, but if you’ve got a bad ass blender (or any blender), put it to use.

 First the eggs…two whole, then three egg yolks.  And don’t throw those whites out!  Make a meringue, marshmallow, or just eat them for lunch (which is what I did…side note: egg whites are best cooked in a microwave…I’ll elaborate on this eventually)

Blend those up until airy and light in color.

Here’s the thing: you’re making an emulsion, so you want to add the rest of the ingredients slowly while the blender is on a low speed.  If you’re doing this by hand, just incorporate slowly while constantly whisking.  Your hand will burn.

Slowly add the sugar over 30 seconds, then the cocoa powder (let that one blend for a bit before adding anything else, since cocoa powder doesn’t incorporate into cold mixes easily), then slowly pour in the milk, vanilla, and coffee.  Blend for 30 seconds more to ensure everything is well incorporated. (There would be pictures of this, but I’m not tall enough to take pictures into the blender, so they wouldn’t have been helpful)

Pour it over your bread, and pat it down to make sure everything gets a nice drink of custard, then cover with saran wrap touching the bread.  Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours or in the fridge for up to 8 before baking to allow for bread soakage.

Sprinkle some chocolate chips over the top then into the oven for 45 minutes – an hour and 15 minutes.

This is kind of a strange thing, but even when it’s done, it may still look raw…after an hour and a half in the oven, mine didn’t look soupy anymore (but still not ‘set’), so I pulled it out and poked it with a fork, and the custard was actually done.  Awesome.

The long window of cooking time is because it will vary based on the bread you use and how much of the custard is absorbed.  My bread was relatively moist, so it didn’t absorb much custard, and took longer to cook…just check on it every 10 minutes or so after 45 minutes has passed.  As long as nothings burning, there’s no reason to worry if it takes a long time to cook =]  (I also bumped the temperature up to 350 once it had been in the oven for an hour)

Bread pudding is like a dessert French toast.  The texture is kind of similar.  It’s also like a really moist cake.  The bread gives the dessert structure and a fluffy feeling, while the dense, creamy pudding fills the cracks, and adds body and decadence.

This would be bomb with a caramel sauce, or fresh whipped cream.  I briefly considered caramelizing bananas to pour on top…any banana dessert is so fun to dress up!  Ooh, and it’s good warm or cold…so eat it fresh out of the oven with ice cream, or save it for breakfast in the morning =]

This would be bomb with a caramel sauce, or fresh whipped cream.  I briefly considered caramelizing bananas to pour on top…any banana dessert is so fun to dress up!  Ooh, and it’s good warm or cold…so eat it fresh out of the oven with ice cream, or save it for breakfast in the morning =]

—-

Basic Banana Bread (don’t forget the butter)
Makes 1-9×5 loaf
Adapted from allrecipes.com

2 ripe bananas
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey (or just do ½ cup brown sugar)
2 eggs
¼ cup butter, melted
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ – ½ cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9×5 loaf pan
  • In a large bowl, mash your bananas until liquidy and in small chunks.  Beat in the sugar, honey, eggs, and melted butter until well incorporated
  • Stir in dry ingredients: flour, salt, and baking soda, until the dough just comes together, then fold in the walnuts or chocolate chips (if using)
  • Pour into the loaf pan and spread out evenly in the pan.  Bake 50 minutes- 1 hour until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding
Adapted from Alton Brown
 
1 9×5 loaf of banana bread
2 large whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups milk*
2 tablespoons espresso or coffee, slightly cooled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Cut a loaf of banana bread into 1 inch cubes and spread out evenly into a greased 11×13 pan.  Bake at 325 F for at least 30 minutes until dry.  Allow to cool before adding custard.
  • While the bread cools, make custard.  Place the eggs and yolks in a blender and combine on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar over 30 seconds, and then add the cocoa powder and blend until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the milk, espresso and vanilla and blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour over the dry, cooled bread.  Press down on the bread so every piece gets a nice drink.  Cover with saran wrap touching the surface of the bread.  Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours or in the fridge for 8.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 F and bake uncovered until the internal temperature reaches 170 F.  This will be when the custard is set in the center.  It may not look set…it should be stiff, not goopy when you give it a poke.  This will take anywhere from 45 min – an hour and 15 minutes
  • Serve warm or cold, and refrigerate any leftovers.  Will keep covered for several days.

*Any combination of heavy cream, half-and-half, whole milk, 2%, 1% or skim (or non-dairy) will be fine.  Don’t go completely half-and-half, heavy cream, or skim (no more than 1 cup), but use what you’ve got on hand…(I used ¼ cup heavy cream, ¾ cup 2% milk, then the rest whole milk)

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One Response to “Chocolate Banana Bread Bread Pudding”

  1. Angel October 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    This looks so yummy! We had the best white chocolate bread pudding for dessert last week, and it sent me looking for all kinds of bread pudding recipes…none of which I’ve tried yet.

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