Mardi Gras

Bananas Foster and bread pudding: together at last

Associated PressFebruary 6, 2013 

  • Dessert Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding For the bread pudding: 1 loaf (about 14 ounces) banana bread, cubed 4 cups (8 ounces) cubed French or Italian bread 2 very ripe bananas, mashed 3 eggs 1 cup sugar 3 cups milk, hot 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped For the bourbon sauce: 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1/4 cup bourbon Berries for garnish (optional) Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange the cubed banana and French breads in an even layer. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, eggs and sugar, incorporating Still whisking, add the hot milk, vanilla and allspice. Gently mix in the toasted bread cubes and pecans. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until puffed and cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth and soft. Beat in the powdered sugar. Add the bourbon and stir until smooth. Set aside. Remove bread pudding to a cooling rack. Spoon on the sauce, spreading it as necessary so it melts evenly over the surface. Serve warm, garnished with berries if desired. Makes 16 servings. Per serving: 340 calories, 120 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories), 14 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 65 mg cholesterol, 48 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 25 g sugar, 6 g protein, 200 mg sodium.

Bananas Foster and bread pudding are two of the most popular desserts in New Orleans. So in honor of the over-the-top nature of Mardi Gras, which takes place, Tuesday, we took a more-is-better approach and combine them into one.

We topped a simple baked banana-pecan bread pudding with a classic hard sauce – including a healthy dose of bourbon, of course – which becomes a gooey icing that melts into the dessert and hardens as it cools. If that’s not your style, the dessert would be equally delicious topped with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream. Or both.

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