All of the Above
The first time I made a bread pudding, I thought to myself, How am I supposed to eat this? Warm? Cold? Plain? Topped with cream? Ice cream? I asked my friends. I asked my family. And of course, I tasted it myself all those ways. For research purposes, of course.
I learned that the answer is: all of the above.
Bread pudding is the frugal cook’s best friend, and can be found in cuisines all over the world, from England to Hong Kong. It makes use of stale bread, transforming it from pigeon food material to something custard-y and delightful. When I looked into my cupboards and fridge and noticed that I had about a third of a loaf of cinnamon twist, a cup of condensed milk, and some overripe bananas on hand, I knew exactly what to do.
Go ahead…dip your spoon into the warm custard, lifting out layers of sugary sweet banana and fluffy, cream soaked cinnamon bread….leftovers never tasted so good.
And for the record, this is how I prefer to eat a Banana Cinnamon Bread Pudding:
Banana Cinnamon Bread Pudding
Makes 5 6-ounce ramekins.
Adapted from Banana Bread Pudding, The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup condensed milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 medium very ripe bananas, sliced
- 2 1/4 cups cinnamon bread (ideally challah style), diced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- caramel sauce for serving
- ice cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 325° F. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
In a bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, eggs, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Set aside
Butter the bottoms of each ramekin with butter. Divide the butter, placing a small pat in each ramekin. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of sugar into each ramekin. Arrange the bananas over the sugar, followed by bread. Soak with some of the custard mixture. Repeat with another layer of banana, bread and custard. Press the bread into the custard to ensure it gets a good soaking. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar.
Cover ramekins with a foil, place in a baking dish in the oven. Pour boiling water into baking dish, filling halfway. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover, then bake for another 30 minutes.
Serve the bread pudding warm with drizzle of caramel sauce, and if you’re feeling especially indulgent, a dollop of vanilla ice cream.