Thursday, February 16, 2012

Maple Banana Bread Pudding: Heaven in a Bowl

This is turning into quite a sweet week here ... sugar is in the air! My cozy dessert mood has continued, most likely due to the rain splattered windows and chilly, damp air, so indulging in one of our family favorites was comforting.

Nursery desserts - soothing, soft bowls of creamy sweetness - have always been a weakness of mine. I adore them all, whether it's rice pudding, tapioca, mousse, fool or graham nut pudding. Custards make me happy (and don’t even get me started on crème brulee).

I am particularly fond of bread pudding. I appreciate the thriftiness of leftover bread heels and stale crusts being transformed into a luscious, pleasing dessert. Simple ingredients - eggs, cream, sugar and bread - form the basis of the pudding, allowing you to add other flavors that inspire you.

A number of years ago I discovered Maple Bread Pudding in Bon Appetit and it has become a mainstay in my repertoire. Maple syrup shines here and adds earthy, sublime sweetness. I’ve adapted this rich pudding slightly to create variations depending upon my mood or what’s on hand. Toasted walnuts, cacao nibs, chocolate chunks, toasted coconut, maple sugar candy or some combination of these have all been scrumptious. Chopped bananas have emerged as my go-to addition, though.

Topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of butterscotch sauce, this dessert will elicit sighs of contentment. There’s nothing like snuggling under an afghan on the couch with a bowl of warm pudding to brighten the grey skies.

Maple Banana Bread Pudding
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit, September 2004
Serves 8

8 eggs
1 quart heavy cream or half and half
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups maple syrup, divided (preferably Grade B)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 pound of challah or other egg bread, torn into small pieces
3 bananas, chopped

More options to add if desired:
Toasted walnuts
Cacao nibs
Chocolate chunks
Toasted coconut flakes
Crumbled maple sugar candy

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, brown sugar, 1 1/4 cup maple syrup and vanilla together. Add the challah and stir to combine. Let sit for about an hour, until the bread is well soaked. Stir the bananas into the mixture (or any other yummy additions).

Preheat the oven the 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch or similar sized baking dish. Pour the pudding into the baking dish and spread evenly. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup over the top.

Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the pudding is puffed and lightly browned. Serve warm and enjoy.


  1. Love bread pudding and will definitely try this one. Sounds perfect

  2. How fun is it: I made bread pudding today with apples and cherries. Mine wasn't as beautiful as your's, though... I was just hungry and in need of some soft food.

    1. Your bread pudding sounds delicious, Marina! Love your combination of apples and cherries.

  3. Beautiful description of the dish, it made my mouth water! I love bread pudding :-)

    1. Thank you, Ruth! Happy to hear you're a bread pudding lover, too.

  4. I have no bread pudding resistance. It has to be one of the most wonderful dishes ever invented. The addition of bananas and coconut and other yummy things? Oh goodness.

    1. I agree completely, Lauren - bread pudding is a marvelous invention indeed. :)

  5. I want this for breakfast THIS MORNING! Too bad I don't have any good bread lying around. Do you make your own challah?

    1. I love bread pudding for breakfast, Brooke! I bake challah on Fridays for Shabbat, so if there is part of a loaf leftover I pop it into the freezer to keep for French toast or bread never stays in the freezer for long - we like our puddings and toast around here. :)

  6. Perfect! I love bread pudding, and bananas are a wonderful addition!

    1. Thank you, Rowdy Chowgirl! You can't go wrong with bananas, can you?


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