It’s holiday time in Arizona! My friend and I were beginning the day with the intention of pulling out the Christmas lights and decorating the front yard. We figured what better way to get into the spirit than with a delicious holiday desert as well! What started out as a Banana White Chocolate and Hazelnut bread pudding with Maple Ice Cream, turned into a more Hawaiian themed Banana White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut bread pudding with Coconut Ice Cream. Maybe a bit less Christmassy – but appropriate, since it was nearly 80 degrees out side.
The flavor combinations you can achieve with bread pudding are limitless – here’s just one fantastic option.
- 3 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar + 4 or 5 Tbsp.
- 4 Whole Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 4 Over Ripe Bananas (All covered with brown spots and soft)
- 3 Unripe Banana (Greenish and firm)
- 1 Bag or approximately 2 Cups of White Chocolate Chips
- 1 Package of Hawaiian Buns
- 1 Cup chopped nuts (Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Etc…)
- Dried Fruit (raisins, etc… Whatever you think would be interesting)
- You could substitute the white chocolate for dark chocolate – or do a combination of both chocolates – omitting other additions
For the best results you want to think about this recipe a day or two ahead of time so that you can get the bread to be stale. I didn’t so I ‘cheated” Cube the bread into 1/2 cubes. Lay it out on a sheet pan to dry out. You can do this two days in advance. If you want to achieve a similar result you can cube the bread and then put in the oven at 170 for about an hour and a half – stirring it around occasionally. The object is to remove the moisture from it so that it soaks up the custard mix better.
In a large mixing bowl combine the bread cubes and chocolate chips.
Mix together the cream, 1 Cup of sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt with a whisk.
Cut the over-ripe bananas up and put them in a microwave safe container. Microwave them covered with plastic wrap for 2 minutes. Let cool.
In a blender, put the milk. Add the microwaved bananas and all the liquid they released. Blend until smooth.
Whisk together the custard mix and the banana mix.
Pour the banana custard mix over the bread cubes and chocolate chips. Stir the mix around well and allow it to sit at room temp for 30 minutes to one hour.
Prepare a 13″ pyrex baking dish by rubbing it with butter. Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp. sugar on the bottom. Slice the bananas and cover the bottom of the pan with them. Sprinkle the top of them with remaining sugar.
Preheat your oven to 350.
Add in your chopped nuts to the bread / custard mix and pour over the sliced bananas in your pan.
For best results we put the baking dish on a sheet pan and added about 3/4 c. water to the sheet pan to create steam, keeping the custard from cracking while cooking. You can achieve great results without this step though – totally optional.
Bake for about one hour, until nice and golden brown all over, and the custard is firmly set up.
Remove and cool.
We prepared this and ate it within 30 minutes of taking it out of the oven. The flavor was fantastic – but I strongly recommend allowing it to set up at room temp for at least 2 hours – even cooling and refrigerating it over night – then re-heating it in the oven to serve the next day. Custard based deserts are 100% better when they’ve been allowed to firm up through the cooling process.
We served this with some home-made coconut ice cream – Recipe to follow. I was tempted to make a burbon-coconut caramel sauce, but we opted not to, and I’m glad. The flavors in this dish were perfect – balanced and not overly sweet!
COCONUT ICE CREAM
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Milk
1 13.5 Ounce Can Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup COCO REAL Cream of Coconut Bar Mix
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Gently whisk together all ingredients to incorporate. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
Chill in ice cream maker according to manufactures instructions.