Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bananas, Bread, and Boredom


Okay, that's a lie. It wasn't boredom. It was more like it was Thursday evening and I didn't want to do my homework. I wanted to make butterscotch blondies. But I didn't want them to be dark again. And then I remembered the apricot blondies in the current F&W magazine. But that still had the light brown sugar issue. And then the whole fact that we don't have any dried apricots, and I didn't really want to use dried cranberries.

So I was in the kitchen waiting for Mom with the car to go buy some brown sugar since it was kind of slimy out. Okay, slushy. And the temperature had dropped a few degrees, so it was starting to get icy and I didn't want to fall in the dark, despite my obnoxious colored clothing that makes me easy to see. And there was the end of some stale whole wheat bread and overripe bananas on the counter. So...

I guess it makes sense where I'm going from there. I wanted to use up the bread. It became tiny little cubes, magically. And then two of the gigantic aromatic bananas turned into a olfactory pleasing puree with some milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a single egg for good measure. I wasn't trying to make anything fancy. No water bath or precooked custard for me. This would just be baked soggy bread.
I poured the banana puree over the bread, stirred the gooey mess, and put it in the fridge. Until breakfast today, when it turned out to be a lot richer than I expected. And quite sweet. All it was missing was a nice sauce, some creamy ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream. Maybe next time.

Banana Bread Pudding
makes 3 8-ounce portions or 6 4-ounce

4 ounces stale bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large ripe bananas (or about 1 cup pureed)
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons sugar (or less, depending on how sweet you like it)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch salt

Place cubed bread in a medium bowl. In a blender or food processor, blend together bananas, milk, egg, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Pour banana mixture over bread and stir to coat. Let stand 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 3 to 6 small ramekins (4 to 8 ounce). Divide bread mixture evenly. Bake until browned on top and bubbly, about 20 minutes for 4-ounce puddings. Cool for about 5 minutes, and serve in ramekins or run a knife along edge and invert onto a plate.

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