Banana Bread Pudding

Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 40 minutes to bake
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Usually, overripe bananas are preferable for baking. But in this case, you will have the best results if you simply use bananas that are eating-ripe, whatever that means to you. (To me, that means past-green but still firm, with no dark spots.)

This recipe calls for garnishing with a squeezable wedge of lime. Take that wedge seriously! Fresh lime juice squeezed onto each serving gives this dish a sparkle that truly sets it apart.

  • Soy milk, cow's milk (regular or lowfat), evaporated milk or half-and-half can be used in any combination in this recipe.
  • ABOUT THE BREAD: For best results, use a country-style bread with a crisp crust and an airy, chewy interior (what's known in bread-speak as a "high crust to crumb ratio"). These breads are often called sweet batard, ciabatta, or pugliese. If you can't find any of these, use stale French or Italian bread

Nonstick spray for the pan
3 cups bread cubes (1/2-inch pieces)
3 medium-sized ripe bananas
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (packed measure) brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons cold butter, in thin slices (optional)
Lime wedges (ones you can really squeeze)
Sour cream, yogurt, or creme freche (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350¡F (325¡F for a glass pan). Lightly spray a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Spread the bread cubes in the pan. Peel the bananas, cut them into slices, and gently tuck them among the pieces of bread. Shake the pan to distribute everything somewhat evenly.
  3. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, sugar, extracts, and nutmeg in a blender or a food processor, and whip until smooth. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Use your finger or a spoon to poke the bread into the liquid until all the pieces are soaked. Top with slices of butter, if desired.
  4. Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the custard is almost set. (It's okay if it is still slightly wet on top, as it will continue to cook from its own heat for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven.)
  5. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a squeezable wedge of lime on the side, and a dab of yogurt, sour cream, or crme fra”che on top of each serving.
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