Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding

This morning I didn't need the alarm clock: I pleasantly woke up to a luxurious, rich, nutty scent of burnt butter, caramelized bananas and steaming chocolate... Can you think of anything more pampering, surprising and special than to wake up in the morning to the smell of freshly baked goods, come from your own oven?

Would you believe me if I told you that this is possible to be done without any effort whatsoever such as waking up at the wee hours of the night, measuring or weighing ingredients and worrying if you'll have time to eat them before rushing to work?

Sounds too good to be true, I know... I would agree with you unless I were to experience it myself with this one quirky dish called bread pudding. If made in the steaming technique this new recipe of bread pudding from a Jewish cookbook that I suspect was designed as a breakfast affair for Saturday morning - that one day in the week when observant Jews usually need to forgo most hot meals unless they were prepared on a hot plate in very slow cooking.

There can be as many flavour variations to bread puddings as the types of stale bread used to prepare it. And you can always add a little bit of this or that. I've been fantasizing about a banana and chocolate affair for over two weeks and it was about time to do something about it. I even had 3 overripe bananas begging for attention. So last night was the night to starting working on that.

5-6 Pain au chocolat (or plain croissants, or a loaf of brioche or challah)

1 cup milk
3 Tbs cocoa powder (I personally prefer Dutch processed)
1/3 cup brown sugar 
50gr (about 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Pink of sea salt
1tsp pure vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
50gr dark chocolate, chopped finely (or chocolate chips)
Additional butter for the pan/pudding dish

- Cook the milk, cocoa and sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add the butter and wait for it to melt. Add the vanilla extract
- Cool down for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mash the bananas well.
- Pour the chocolate mixture onto the bananas. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them between additions.
- Preheat the oven to 95c (200F)
- Butter generously a pudding bowl or another heat proof bowl or casserole dish (such as ceramic or pyrex) or a deep pan. 
- Place slices of the pain au chocolate in the bowl and arrange them as neatly as you can, in one layer.
- Pour the banana, hot chocolate and egg mixture over the bread slices. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate.
- Create another layer of bread, then pour the batter and sprinkle with more chocolate.
- Cover with a lid (or with aluminum foil).
- Place the pudding bowl inside a shallow pan filled with water and place in the oven.
- Bake over night (for 8-9 hours).
- Meanwhile, get your beauty sleep. You'll wake up to the most amazing breakfast - and your home will smell heavenly!
- When you remove the pan from the oven, the pudding will be all puffy. Please note that it will collapse (even if you leave it in the oven with the door slightly open). That's normal, and would not take away from your enjoyment. I promise!
- If you used a bowl, invert the pudding onto a serving plate, and dust with powdered sugar. This pudding is best served hot or warm. Goes very nicely with a cup of black tea with milk (we had a banana coconut tea from Murchie's for the occasion), a cup of coffee, or even just a glass of milk.

Bon appetite!

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