I had three-quarters of a loaf of Buttermilk Bread leftover, three almost-too-ripe bananas, and some homemade caramel sauce that a neighbor gave me as a Christmas present. This is what they turned into!
You can certainly feel free to improvise. Replace the bananas and brown sugar with fresh berries or some chopped chocolate. Top with crème anglaise or a berry syrup instead of caramel sauce. You get the idea.
Banana-Caramel Bread Pudding
Yield 9 servings
¾ lb. loaf of bread (white, sourdough, French, brioche, etc.) sliced 1’’ thick
¼ c. caramel topping, divided
1/3 c. brown sugar + ¼ c. brown sugar, divided
1 c. heavy cream
1 ½ c. whole milk
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
¼ t. salt
3 ripe bananas
Preheat oven to 350F. Spread the bread slices with about 1-2 t. of the caramel topping per slice and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until lightly toasted.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and 1/3 c. brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the cream, milk, vanilla, and salt, and whisk until combined. When the bread is done toasting, cut it into bite-sized chunks and soak in the custard for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325F.
Slice the bananas and mix them in a small bowl with the remaining ¼ c. brown sugar.
Spray or butter a 2-qt. baking dish. Lay half the custard-soaked bread in the bottom of the prepared dish. Top with the bananas. Top with the remaining bread, pouring any remains of the custard over the pudding.
Place the baking dish in a large roasting pan. Pour 1’’ of very hot water into the roasting pan. Bake until the pudding is golden brown and set, about 1 hour. Transfer the roasting pan to a wire rack and let the pudding cool inside the water bath.
Spoon the warm pudding into bowls and drizzle with the remaining caramel topping as desired.