Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cafe Reconcile Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

This recipe for one of their featured desserts recently was shared by Cafe Reconcile. Founder Craig Cuccia and past chef Don Boyd collaborated on its creation. A variation of the sauce has bananas in it. The secret ingredient of the restaurant version might be the Leidenheimer French bread.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

1 loaf stale French bread, or more, to fill pan

3 eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup rum

1 ½ tablespoons banana extract

4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons butter


¼ pound butter (1 stick)

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ ounce rum

¼ ounce banana extract

*Optional: 1 sliced, medium-ripe banana.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 12- by 12- by 2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Tear the bread into 2-inch pieces, enough to fill the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, 1 ½ cups sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, cream, ¼ cup rum and 1 ½ tablespoons banana extract.

In a saucepan, bring milk just to a boil and melt butter in it. Temper* egg mixture into milk mixture. Pour liquid over the bread and fold in thoroughly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and then foil. (The plastic wrap keeps the moisture in and it does not melt.)

Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan and carefully add enough water to come 1 inch up the sides of the baking dish, to create a water bath.

Bake for an hour. Remove foil and plastic. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with caramel sauce.

To make caramel sauce: Melt a stick of butter on low heat in a saucepan. When butter is melted, add a quarter- cup brown sugar. Stir well and continue to cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, or until brown sugar begins to caramelize.

(Optional: Add banana a couple of minutes before removing sauce from the stove.) Add ¼ ounce rum and ¼ ounce banana extract. Stir and serve warm.

*Tempering is a technique that lets you raise the temperature of eggs gradually by adding hot liquid. If the liquid is added too quickly, the eggs could curdle. In this recipe, drizzle a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk constantly. Continue to slowly add the hot milk while whisking into the eggs, until all the milk is incorporated. Once half of it is incorporated, you can add more of the liquid at a time.

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