Saturday, April 28, 2012

Banana Bread Pudding with Pecan Brittle

A LONG TIME AGO I wrote about my dad and how he is great and how he makes a salad with candied pecans that I could eat for ever and ever. Well, not the entire salad, maybe just platefuls of candied pecans.

I am here writing today because I made those candied pecans. My pecans, however, were not to lie upon a bed of spinach. They were to garnish bread pudding made out of banana bread pieces. Pretty much the same thing-


When you make bread pudding you are, in a way, saving a life.

Think about it, you are taking something that most people do not desire (super stale bread) and turning it into a satisfying and comforting dessert.

Nothing says comfort like banana bread.

A lot of recipes for Banana Bread Pudding call for regular bread and fresh bananas. I needed an excuse to use up some leftover banana muffins so I diced them up instead. Two birds, one stone. I also used beer.

 I replaced 1/2 cup of the liquid in the recipe with brown ale. It adds a subtle malt and coconut flavor to the pudding that compliments the banana. It is totally ok to omit the alcohol and just use milk or cream.

Pour the warm custard over the (stale) muffin pieces and let the mixture soak for 15 minutes.

Once saturated, pour the mixture into individual ramekins, top it off with a little of the excess custard and baked for 30-40 minutes.

I made the mistake of preparing the candied pecans before the puddings went into the oven. This gave me 30-40 minutes to snack on them. Odds are, I was eating a handful while taking this picture.

Bread pudding: saving lives, one stale muffin at a time.

Banana Bread Pudding
(serves 2)
1 c whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 c brown ale
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 c brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
2 c banana bread, diced into small chunks
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 c pecan pieces
1 Tablespoon corn syrup

1. Make sure banana bread/muffin pieces are slightly stale (allow them to sit on the counter uncovered overnight or cook them in the oven until they are evenly toasted)
2. Put bread chunks in a large bowl and set aside
3. Make custard: Over medium heat, combine milk, salt and 1/2 c brown sugar; cook until sugar and salt are dissolved and milk is warm; in a medium bowl whisk eggs and slowly strem warm milk mixture into eggs (whisking constantly); add beer, vanilla and cinnamon
4. Pour custard over bread, making sure all chunks are immersed at least slightly in the liquid; allow to soak for 15 minutes
5. Once saturated, divide bread between two buttered ramekins and pour about 1/4 c custard on top (the liquid should rise to the lip of the ramekin, it may be more or less than 1/4 c)
 6. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes
7. While puddings are baking, make garnish: in a small skillet brown 1 tablespoon butter; add pecans, remaining brown sugar and corn syrup; cook until the mixture begins to bubble and looks caramelized (about 5 minutes) It will look like this-

8. Pour candied pecans onto a piece of parchment and cool completely before breaking into pieces for garnish
9. Bread pudding is done when the middle is firm; garnish with pecan brittle and enjoy warm!

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