I won’t claim my banana bread is the best ever. I will say it’s very good, not dense and not too banana-y and it’s also the base for one of my favorite fall desserts: banana bread pudding. Think banana bread piled high with a rich vanilla bean custard and made spoon-licking with a dark rum caramel sauce.
Let’s not jing-jang around with this one. Make this. Yeah, its a little more labor intensive because you have to make the banana bread then cube it and dry it out, but it’s worth it.
If time is an issue make the banana bread up to three days in advance and the dark rum caramel sauce up to two weeks in advance. Now you have no excuse. I’ve just helped you manage the time on this one. . . um, so says the girl who still hasn’t found time to pull down her Halloween decorations.
Caramel Rum Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon soda
- pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed with peas size lumps (about 3-4 medium bananas)
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoon dark rum
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 3 medium banans sliced
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter pan or ramekins.
Caramel rum sauce (make up two weeks ahead)
- Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir the until sugar has dissolved. Dissolve any crystals forming on the side with a wet pastry brush.
- Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so. After 3-4 minutes the mixture will turn from a light amber to medium amber and then finally to a dark reddish brown color. Once the mixture starts to smoke, add the butter and heavy cream. The mixture will bubble wildly. Allow mixture to cool for ten minutes before adding dark rum. Add dark rum and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool completely.
To make banana bread (make up to three days ahead)
- Place flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine; set side.
- In a separate bowl combine eggs and sugar then whisk until well combined and mixture becomes thick and light in color, about 1 minute. Drizzle cooled butter into mixture and whisk to combine. Add oil and buttermilk to mixture then whisk to combine. Add vanilla extract and mashed bananas and whisk to combine.
- Butter the bottom of a 9x5 loaf pan and pour batter into it. Bake at 350 degrees F or until inserted tooth pick from the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Slice and cube cooled banana bread. Spread banana bread cubes on a bake sheet and toast until bread cubes feel dry but not hard. Cool completely on bake sheet. (If making ahead store banana bread cubes in plastic bag).
To make pudding
- Add sugar, eggs and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
- Add heavy cream and whole milk to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Slowly add egg mixture into cream mixture with one hand while continuously whisking the combined mixture with the other. Add in vanilla bean paste and rum and whisk to combine. Strain mixture.
- Place on a single layer of banana bread cubes in pan or ramekins. Place sliced bananas on top and then cover banana slices with half of caramel rum sauce. Place second layer of bread cubes down. Pour custard all over assembled pan or pour evenly among ramekins. Let stand for 15 minutes, occasionally pressing down bread to absorb pudding. Place pan or ramekins in a larger pan with water filled half way up. Cover water-filled pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 3o minutes for ramekins and another 4o minutes for 9x9 pan. Serve while hot with a light dusting of confectioner sugar and drizzle remaining half of caramel rum sauce top.
A few notes:
- You can make this in on 9x13 pan or in little ramekins. The pots featured in the picture are Staub's mini cocotte and are about 8oz. in size.
- I used vanilla bean paste since I find it more flavorful than vanilla extract, but if vanilla paste is not readily available where you are vanilla extract will work just fine.
- Of course to keep this non-alcoholic, skip the rum.
- For a step by step tutorial to making caramel sauce, click here.