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.…

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.


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  1. Dawn W

    I haven’t been fond of bread pudding, but once I saw this recipe, I just had to give it a try. My husband and I have made it three times this past month…we love it! Thank you for sharing!

    I am hoping to take it to a family gathering, but I would like to bake it in one dish instead of several ramekins. Do you have any suggestions on a differentiated baking time? I am planning to use a larger baking dish (looks like a large ramekin) or a glass baking pan. If not, I could give it a try myself. :-) Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.

    Again, we love this dish and will keep it in our favorites.

    • liren

      Dawn, I’m so pleased that you have been enjoying the recipe, that just makes my day! It can certainly be made in one dish, just make sure you have an adequate water bath (add water if necessary), and it will probably take about an hour total baking time, but do keep an eye on it, in case it needs a little longer.

      Good luck!!! I hope the rest of your family enjoys it!

  2. Jun Belen

    I guess while we wait for Summer’s bounty of peaches and nectarines, we would have to settle for bananas… but why settle if I can have your banana bread pudding! Lovely photographs, Liren. I love mine with vanilla ice cream and caramel as well. Gorgeous!

  3. Leslie

    Wow, that looks delicious! I guess I’m not the only one on a bread pudding binge this week. I’ll have to try this. Thanks!

    • Liren

      Hi Leslie! I just visited your site, and oh my, your bread pudding looks fabulous! Despite having had my fill of bread pudding, I’m still craving more!

      • Leslie Uhl

        Thanks! I have to say it’s hard to say no to bread pudding, glad I have lots of people willing to share!

  4. Monet

    I just started eating bread pudding earlier this year, and I’m in love with it now. This recipe is going on my must-bake list! I love that you used cinnamon bread too. I bet that added some great flavor. Thank you for sharing this deliciousness tonight. I hope you have a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend.

  5. Cristina

    Yumee, Liren. One of the best desserts I’ve ever had was at a restaurant in Las Vegas called Botero’s (at the Wynn) and they serve this amazing banana bread pudding (been trying to get their recipe). Also, growing up it was a dessert tradition by my Aunt…she made a mean bread pudding.

    Can’t wait to try this… it looks and sounds delicious.

    Congrats on the Top 9 today :)

    • Liren

      Thank you, Cristina! Bread pudding can be so amazing – now I want to go to Vegas just to try their banana bread pudding! I have often thought of making bread pudding with my buttermilk banana bread, but there’s never any leftovers!

  6. Rachel

    LOVELY! The caramel sauce makes this absolutely complete. Oh, how I want some banana bread pudding now. :)

  7. Peggy

    Honestly, bread pudding has never really stuck out or appealed to me… until now. This definitely makes me crave it so badly.

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