And it will be worth the wait! Yes, I was away for a bit but I have a good excuse: I was in a faraway land eating and drinking... it took me awhile to get back to normal... re-entry is difficult!
Anyway, back to the topic at hand: Bananas Foster Bread Pudding.
The Bodyguard told me he loved Bananas Foster, and since we were celebrating Fat Tuesday, New Orleans style, I thought it would be a perfectly appropriate dessert. He also mentioned that he has never had bread pudding, so I thought, aha! Let's combine them into one yummitygoodness mess.
Of course, Emeril beat me to it! I don't really know how people and blogos feel about Emeril, but I am taking a stand to say I am a fan. This guy knows how to cook and knows how to write recipes. I never worry when undertaking an Emeril recipe that it will fail. And his version of this bread pudding is to die for. Of course, with all of that butter and rum and brown sugar, even one of my Doc Martens would be good after having a long soak in that!
So, without further delay, let's get on to it:
Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
Adapted from Emeril's Delmonico by Emeril Lagasse
9 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar [TTT: I always use dark brown sugar -- it's just my preference]
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 firm, ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
1/4 cup banana liqueur [TTT: I could only find 99 Bananas. It's about $20, so if you can find the little airplane-serving portion, all the better]
1/2 cup dark rum
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract [TTT: I also used the contents of one vanilla bean]
Pinch of salt [TTT: You must taste as you go along. Don't be afraid of salt! I probably added about 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher]
6 cups (1/2-inch cubes) day-old French bread [TTT: I bought fresh bread, so I sliced it into 1-inch slabs, placed them on a baking sheet, and stuck in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes to dry them out a bit -- worked perfectly]
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 by 14-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the brown sugar and the cinnamon and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the bananas and cook on both sides, turning, until the bananas start to soften and brown, about 3 minutes. Add the banana liqueur and stir to blend. Turn off the heat. Carefully add the rum and shake the pan back and forth to warm the rum. Again, carefully(!) light the rum with a match or turn the flame back on and tip the pan so the rum fumes ignite. Either way, just be damn careful! Let the flame die, remove from the heat, and set aside to let cool.
Whisk together the eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar, the cream, the milk, the vanilla (and bean seeds if using) in a large bowl. Add the cooled banana mixture and the cubed bread and stir to blend thoroughly. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake until firm, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes
To serve, scoop the pudding into bowls. Top with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.