Bananas Foster Bread Pudding


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Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
This recipe is based on a recipe from my friend Johanna Fischer that she got from Gourmet Cooking not to be confused with Gourmet Magazine.

1 Loaf brioche, challah, or french bread - cut into 1 inch cubes
3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 large ripe bananas - peeled, mashed with a fork
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup whole pecans

Rum Sauce:
1/2 cup dark rum, such as Meyer's
1/4 cup banana liqueur (optional)
1/4 cup (half stick) sweet butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 large bananas, peeled and quartered

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly toast the pecans on cookie sheet until you can smell them for about 4 to 6 minutes. Do not let them burn or they will be bitter. Set the pecans aside to cool, and then roughly chop. Turn off oven.
Lightly butter a deep 9 x 12 baking dish (or equivalent) and toss the bread cubes in to make an even layer. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the pecans and dried apricot pieces and try to ensure that the nuts are tucked inside so they won't burn. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes so that the egg mixture soaks into the bread.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and put the bread pudding on the middle rack. Do not remove the aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until firm and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Make the Rum Sauce
While the bread pudding is baking, heat up the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to melt add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and quartered bananas. Saute gently, moving the bananas around, for about one minute. Remove the skillet from heat and add the rum and liqueur. Return the skillet to medium heat. When the liquid begins to bubble, tilt the pan and using caution light the sauce with a long match. When the flames go away, remove the skillet from heat. (If you can't get the sauce to light, just cook for 3-4 minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off.)
The rum sauce should be served warm. If it cools down too much, reheat in a sauce pan over low heat or in a microwave.
Whip the cream until it just begins to thicken. Add the vanilla and sprinkle the sugar over the cream. Continue to whip until soft peaks form. Use immediately or refrigerate.
Cut into squares or scoop out the bread pudding and serve on plates or in bowls. Garnish with two pieces of cooked bananas and drizzle the rum sauce over the top. Dollop with whipped cream.
Note: The bread pudding will be much richer is you use challah or brioche and it is a great way to use up challah that is getting a bit dry.