It’s the 4th of July and I’ve been holed up at home for the last three days with a respiratory infection. I hardly ever get sick but when I do, that’s usually what it is. Up until today, eating has felt like I’m dining on sand sprinkled with glass shards sauteed in acid every time I swallow. And it all just takes like hurting…there is no flavor thanks to the congestion. Then, there is the phlegm. It is absolutely amazing the varying shades of color that post nasal drip can trigger. On the bright side, I do think I’m slowly on the mend, though my voice still sounds like it belongs to someone who has been chain smoking for 30 years.
So who’s hungry?!
I’m so bummed I’m missing out on all of the 4th of July party shenanigans (e.g., eating like it’s my last day on earth), and while I’m not contagious, I just didn’t want to be “that” phlegmmy coughy person at the BBQ or Kevin’s family’s lunch. So here I am, drinking hot tea to soothe my throat in my eighty-five degree apartment…trying to get caught up on the backlog.
Kevin and I hosted a belated birthday dinner at our place for Alex’s birthday back in February (dinner recipe deets forthcoming) and had to make sure we had something kick-ass for dessert. With Lingie as chief dessert decision officer, we came up with a great idea for a chocolate banana bread pudding. My favorite bread pudding is from Nook Bistro, as are a few other recipes I’ve tried to recreate through the years. The recipe I found on Denica’s Cafe sounded like it would yield something similar at the time, though now that I’ve made and eaten it, I’m convinced Nook’s uses way more fat and maybe even a brioche bread.
I did make a few tweaks to Denica’s recipe though. Chocolate chips usually have less cocoa butter than bars do, so they hold their shape in moderate oven heat. That way, they retain their texture and shape in cookies, muffins, and other baked goodies without looking melted melt (even though the cocoa butter has melted). I wanted a big gooey swirly chocolatey mess with my bread pudding, so I chopped up a chocolate bar (dark instead of semi-sweet, simply out of preference) into chip-sized pieces. If I were to make this again, I’d utilize bananas that are a day or two more ripe than what Denica recommended too, again for that gooey bread pudding texture.
Here is my rendition:
- 1 loaf (16 oz) firm white bread or French loaf, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks and left out uncovered overnight
- 3 ripe but still somewhat firm large bananas. Use bananas that are a little ripe than what’s pictured below. Brown spots are fine!
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/4 C packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 2/3 C chopped dark chocolate chunks (I used bars of Cote D’Or)
- Peel and slice bananas into 1/2 inch slices.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, and sugars until blended. Gently stir in bread, bananas, and chocolate chunks to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight, pressing down bread occasionally to absorb cream mixture.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ round springform or cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep. The pan will be very full.
- Bake bread pudding, covered loosely with foil, 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 45 minutes or so longer, or until knife inserted in center of pudding comes out clean. Cool pudding slightly on wire rack before serving.
Check out that gooey swirl! We served it a la mode, and I think it went over well with the birthday boy and fellow dinner guests!