Banana Foster Bread Pudding

This Banana Foster Bread Pudding is made with sliced challah bread soaked in a spiced custard mixture. It is baked until golden and topped with brown sugar cooked bananas and caramel sauce. 

Banana Foster Bread Pudding. Sliced challah bread soaked in spiced custard mixture, baked until golden, and topped with brown sugar cooked bananas and caramel sauce. #breakfast #brunch #breadpudding #dessert #sweet

What is Banana Foster?

Banana foster is a popular dessert that originated in New Orleans. It is made with bananas cooked in a caramel mixture of butter, brown sugar, and rum (and sometimes banana liqueur is also added to heighten the banana flavors).

It is served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The contrasting flavors of sweet banana, slightly bitter caramel, and cool creamy ice cream makes Banana Foster so delightful spoonful after spoonful.

It’s a sweet, rich, buttery dessert. When served table-side at fancy restaurants, they will often flambé the bananas. Meaning, they set the added rum on fire for show. The alcohol immediately sets ablaze but just as quickly subsides.  

Banana Foster Bread Pudding

Let’s translate the flavors of banana foster into an easy bread pudding! 

Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts. Not only is it simple to make, but all sorts of different flavors can easily be mixed in! 

I have several bread pudding variations on the site: chocolate swirl bread pudding, walnut chocolate chip bread pudding, clear the fridge savory bread pudding

Ingredients needed for Banana Foster Bread Pudding

All bread puddings (whether sweet or savory) have a handful of key ingredients: bread, eggs, and milk/cream.

Bread Pudding Ingredients:

  • Challah

Challah is a braided egg based bread. It’s a special bread in Jewish cuisine. 

Trader Joe’s sells a one pound challah loaf. You can also find it at Whole Foods Market and Sprouts. 

Challah is wonderful for bread pudding because it’s a sturdy bread that absorbs liquids well.

Alternatively, you may substitute brioche. In a pinch, you can use a crusty bread like French baguette. However, be aware that the resulting bread pudding will have a bit more bite and chew.

  • Eggs

This recipe uses a combination of eggs and egg yolks. It results with a richer custard.

  • Milk and Cream

I used a combination of whole milk and heavy cream, aka half and half! It’s a rich combination.

You may substitute low fat or reduced fat milk in place of whole milk. Do not omit the heavy cream. It lends to the bread pudding’s soft custard like texture. 

  • Brown Sugar and Spices

The mixture of light brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg provides the perfect amount of warmth and flavor. 

I highly recommend using vanilla paste (or vanilla bean). But of course, you may also use pure vanilla extract. 

How to make Banana Foster Bread Pudding using challah bread.

Assembling Bread Pudding in Non Traditional Vessels:

You can bake bread pudding in any sort of oven-safe vessel. From casserole dishes, ramekins, deep cake pans, or pie plates- as long as it’s oven safe, it’s worth a try!

One pound of bread fits snuggly in a round 9-inch baking dish. Make sure the baking dish is at least 2-inch deep. (9-inch or 10-inch round cake pan works really well!)

Deeper dishes allow more of the bread to soak in the custard liquids. The baked bread pudding will have a more even custard texture throughout. 

Shallower dishes will expose more of the bread, allowing the top layer of bread to get toasty in the oven. This creates the contrast of a crunchy top layer and a soft, custard center. (I prefer this one!)

Banana Foster Bread Pudding. Sliced challah bread soaked in spiced custard mixture, baked until golden, and topped with brown sugar cooked bananas and caramel sauce. #breakfast #brunch #breadpudding #dessert #sweet

There are two ways to assemble this bread pudding.

METHOD ONE:

Shingle the sliced bread in baking vessel. Tuck banana slices between bread. Pour custard mixture over bread and allow to soak for 30 minutes.

METHOD TWO:

Dip sliced bread into custard mixture for a few seconds on each side. (Similar to how you prepare French toast.) Continue to shingle and arrange bread as described in method one.

Banana Foster Bread Pudding. Sliced challah bread soaked in spiced custard mixture, baked until golden, and topped with brown sugar cooked bananas and caramel sauce. #breakfast #brunch #breadpudding #dessert #sweet

(I prefer the Method One because I like the top of my bread pudding to be a bit crunchy and toasty.)

The bread needs time to soak up the custard liquids. Allow the assembled bread pudding to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and let rest in the fridge for longer storage (up to overnight).

If you chill the bread pudding for several hours (or overnight), allow the baking dish to come to room temperature before placing in the hot oven.

Since bread pudding is an egg-based sweet, it should be cooked “low and slow” to prevent any unwanted “eggy” flavor. 

It’s the same reason why creme brûlée or cheesecake is cooked low and slow.

If the tops of the bread are browning too fast, cover with foil and continue to bake until the bread pudding has slightly puffed up and the liquid fillings are set.

Banana Foster Bread Pudding. Sliced challah bread soaked in spiced custard mixture, baked until golden, and topped with brown sugar cooked bananas and caramel sauce. #breakfast #brunch #breadpudding #dessert #sweet

Banana Foster Topping:

Top the bread pudding with warm banana foster topping immediately after removing from the oven.

The banana frosting topping is a simple mixture of sliced bananas cooked in butter and brown sugar. For added flavor and decadence, you can also add a touch of dark rum. The rum is optional. 

For the finishing touch, drizzle warm caramel sauce all over the baked bread pudding. Serve immediately! 

Banana Foster Bread Pudding. Sliced challah bread soaked in spiced custard mixture, baked until golden, and topped with brown sugar cooked bananas and caramel sauce. #breakfast #brunch #breadpudding #dessert #sweet

Bread pudding can be served warm, room temperature, or even chilled.

And just like a traditional Banana Foster, this bread pudding is excellent with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! 

Banana Foster Bread Pudding

This Banana Foster Bread Pudding is made with sliced challah bread soaked in spiced custard mixture. It is baked until golden and topped with brown sugar cooked bananas and caramel sauce. 

Yield: 9-inch round cake pan, or 9x12-inch casserole pan

Servings 8
Author Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 pound challah bread, sliced (day old bread preferred)
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla paste, or pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 bananas, sliced

Banana Foster Topping:

  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 Tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoons dark rum, optional
  • 3 Tablespoons caramel, homemade or store-bought

Instructions

Bread Pudding:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cream, eggs, yolks, vanilla, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until sugar has dissolved.

  2. Arrange and shingle sliced bread in 9-inch round cake pan (or desired baking vessel. See notes). Tuck sliced bananas between bread slices.

  3. Slowly pour half of liquid mixture over bread. Gently push bread down to ensure it gets coated with liquid. Wait 10 minutes. Pour remaining half of liquid over bread. Let assembled bread pudding sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you preheat oven.

    NOTE: Alternatively, cover assembled bread pudding and keep in the fridge for longer storage, up to overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake room temperature bread pudding for 40-50 minutes until the custard liquid has set and the tops of bread are toasty.

    NOTE: If bread is browning too much after 30 minutes, cover with foil, and continue to bake until custard is set.

Banana Foster Topping:

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add sliced bananas and brown sugar. Stir to coat bananas in butter and sugar. Turn bananas over a few times during the cooking process. Heat until brown sugar has dissolved and bananas are beginning to soften. If desired, drizzle rum over the bananas and toss to coat.

  2. Spoon warm caramel bananas over hot bread pudding. Drizzle warm caramel sauce all over bread pudding. Serve bread pudding warm.

    For the a decadent experience, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Recipe Notes

  • Bread pudding can be served warm, room temperature, or chilled. 
  • Store leftover bread pudding covered in the fridge for up to two days. 
  • If you chill the bread pudding for several hours (or overnight), allow the baking dish to come to room temperature before placing in the hot oven.
  • If the tops of the bread are browning too fast, cover with foil and continue to bake until the bread pudding has slightly puffed up and the liquid fillings are set.
  • Bread pudding can be baked in a 9-inch or 10-inch round cake pan, or 9x12-inch casserole pan.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Brioche may be used in place of Challah.
  • Low fat or reduced fat milk may be used in place of whole milk. Don't skimp on the heavy cream.
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