langostinos & grits were just the main course. Now we're moving on to dessert!
Yeah, I said dessert. And I meant it.
I'm a big fan of bread pudding. First -- although I know that not everyone would agree -- in my world there are no bad bread puddings. There are good bread puddings. And better bread puddings. And then there are the best bread puddings.
The best bread puddings are rich and custardy. They're made with light, fluffy bread that puffs up like a souffle as it finishes cooking. Best of all, these bread puddings have a lovely hard sauce poured over them. Usually, the sauce is made with bourbon or whiskey. But, I've been persuaded by decadent rum sauces, and even the occasional sauce made with brandy. The fact is, sauce is important. Even a so-so pudding can be transformed into something far more palatable if you pair it with the proper sauce.
So... when I decided to get a little creative with bread pudding for this year's Mardi Gras dinner, I figured there was very little risk involved.
This particular variation is an an adaptation of that famous New Orleans dessert, Bananas Foster, crossed with another Southern classic, bread pudding. This is a custard-style bread pudding, which means it's tender and moist, and loaded with milk and eggs. It's also studded with a double dose of banana goodness -- pureed banana in the custard base, and sliced bananas layered between each decadent custard soaked bread layer. (Not so secretly, I think this particular bread pudding would be more than appropriate to eat for breakfast... it's got both eggs and fruit in it after all...)
The best part of all is (of course) the sauce, which is absolutely swoon-worthy and really makes this dish feel like dessert. It's made from a generous portion of high quality dark rum, sweet brown sugar, a splash of cream, and a pinch of cinnamon. And it's easier than sin to make. So, there will be no excuses for not going through the motions of making it.
Heck, even if you're not a bread pudding fan, make the sauce. It would be awesome poured over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce
©BURP! Where Food Happens
Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.