Coconut Banana Bread Pudding

It wasn't until about a year ago that I was introduced to my first bite of Bread Pudding. I had heard of it but it didn’t sound all that appealing to me for some reason. Maybe it was the idea that it was made from stale bread. Maybe it was the raisins that were often included in the recipe. Maybe it was that it sounded so frugal and old-fashioned. Or maybe it was that the recipe so seldom included chocolate.

I’m not sure exactly what turned me off about the idea of Bread Pudding but I do know that for years I never even considered ordering it at a restaurant or trying it at home. I just didn’t realize that the flaws I perceived in this luscious dessert were actually virtues or at least something that could easily be fixed or changed. I didn’t realize that bread pudding is actually so versatile that none of my perceptions about it needed to be true.

In fact Bread Pudding is actually just a sort of sweeter version of a Strata, a breakfast dish that I love to cook for company and really enjoy eating. It starts with the same base of good quality bread, eggs and milk and instead of adding all of my favorite savory ingredients that I have on hand I add my favorite sweets: sugar, spice, fruit, nuts, even chocolate. This year I have come to regard it as an amazingly versaltile comfort food that is easy to make and easy on the budget.

This time I took my latest favorite flavor combination, bananas, coconut, ginger and chocolate, and used it to dress up the remainder of the Coconut Banana Yeast Bread I made recently. The result was a satisfying combination of ingredients with a hint of the relaxing sun drenched tropics. To make this dessert even more versatile you can choose from two equally delicious sauces to top it off. Serve it Pirates of the Carribean style with a sassy Butter Rum Sauce or serve it with an energizing Espresso Sauce for a Java Monkey edge.

Coconut Banana Bread Pudding

4 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk (remainder of the can used to bake the bread)
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups bread, cut in ½ inch pieces (I used Coconut Banana Yeast Bread)
1 ripe banana, diced
½ cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
¼ cup shredded coconut (to sprinkle on top)
Butter Rum Sauce or Espresso Sauce (recipes below)
whipped cream

Prepare an 8-inch square baking dish by buttering the sides and bottom of the pan.

Whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, whole milk, brown sugar, ginger, vanilla, and salt.

Mix the bread, banana, chocolate chips and macadamia nuts and arrange in the prepared pan.

Pour the milk mixture over the top of the bread and let stand for five or ten minutes pressing any dry bread on the top gently down into the custard mixture.

Refrigerate the mixture for several hours or until ready to bake.

Sprinkle shredded coconut over the top just before baking.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 50 minutes, or until pudding is puffy and golden.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Serve warm topped with Butter Rum Sauce or Espresso Sauce, and whipped cream.

Butter Rum Sauce

¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons rum
Pinch of salt

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the remaining ingredients, whisking until well combined.

Simmer, whisking often, until thickened, approximately 3 minutes.

Cool slightly and serve.

Espresso Sauce

¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon powdered espresso
2 tablespoons boiling water
Pinch of salt

In a small dish, stir the espresso powder into the boiling water until dissolved. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the sugar, whipping cream, espresso mixture and salt, whisking until well combined.

Simmer, whisking often, until thickened, approximately 3 minutes.

Cool slightly and serve.



theUngourmet said...

Oh my goodness, that looks so delicious!

I'm like you, I never thought bread pudding sounded that great either. I thought it sounded like mushy bread.

Two years ago I found a recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Caramel Sauce. I made my version of it for Thanksgiving. It was so amazing. I made it again the following year for Christmas Brunch.

I will definitely save your recipe to try. Thanks!

Ivy said...

This looks so amazing! This June gloom in L.A. Makes me crave warm and comforting foods. Yet, my brain says,"NO, it's summer! Eat ice cream!". I actually have been looking for a good trustworthy bread pudding recipe. And your recipes are definitly trustworthy. I want to get the Williams Sonoma Entertaining book though-there is supposed to be a great peach bread pudding recipe in there.

krysta said...

same here, i just don't like the sound of bread pudding. rasins and stale bread... yuck! but this recipe might make me a believer.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

This looks like such a decadent dessert! I'm from a long line of bread pudding eating fools and this takes bread pudding to a whole other level!

pam said...

Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts. I always keep stale cubed bread in the freezer just for it. This one sounds amazing.

Bunny said...

I had never eaten bread pudding till I worked in a deli, I was hooked after that. This is wonderful, I 've never seen this combination before!

noble pig said...

Yeah, that sounds way better than regular bread pudding! Yum.

grace said...

love it. love, love, love it. it's everything i hoped it would be and more, lisa! Every component is incredible, from the macadamias to the coconut to that outrageous butter rum sauce--this is a WINNER!

Robin Sue said...

Wonderful use of that lovely bread you made. I have never thought of bread pudding as a strata before but now that you mention it you are right! I will take both sauces on mine please since I don't know which to choose they both sound so good!

Lisa said...

Ungourmet - Pumpkin Bread Pudding sounds wonderful, for dinner or brunch. I really want to try that!

Ivy - Peach Bread Pudding sounds good too! If you try that recipe I hope you'll post about it.

Krysta - I'm really glad I finally tried Bread Pudding. I have definitely been missing out all these years. Still I think using good bread and your own choice of fruit and/or other additions makes it much more fun and appealing.

Katherine - A new twist on an old favorite can help to keep things interesting. I think this version of Bread Pudding is particularly appealing for warmer weather.
Thanks for stopping by!

Pam - What a great idea. I wish I was that organized!

Bunny - I do think it is important to try new things. I am trying to be more open minded these days!

Noble Pig - Thanks! I do think these flavors are fun.

Grace - Glad it didn't disappoint! I hope you try it some time. And the Butter Rum Sauce is really good. I used it on my latest Butter Rum Ice Cream Cupcakes too!

Robin Sue -I'm the same way. I hadn't thought of Bread Pudding as a variation on Strata before either. That realization has sort of expanded my idea of possibilities. Why not have Bread Pudding for breakfast?

Cathy said...

I'm a big bread pudding fan but have never tried it with bananas or coconut. Sounds wonderful.

the southern hostess said...

This looks and sounds delicious! Great idea!

Maris said...

This looks like an amazing summer breakfast treat! I mean, dessert! :)

Kim said...

Wonderful, wonderful and I want some right now! I am not a fan of bread pudding, but your photos are about to change that.

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe, but I realized that you actually need to use the type of bread they are suggesting, otherwise you'll end up with a pretty insipid bread pudding, like the one I made using regular bread

Lisa said...

Sorry about that, Anonymous. The type of bread used in bread pudding does make a difference. Generally "day-old" bread is best, or bread that is past optimal freshness, because it will absorb the other ingredients better. Also, the flavor of the bread blends into the flavor of the pudding so Coconut Banana Bread will lend a more tropical flavor. If you use another type of bread you could add a little more of the flavorful ingredients to the pudding or pour on a little more sauce.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the recipe. I made it with plain white bread, but used coconut Greek yogurt instead of the milk, plus added 4 tbsp of melted butter and coconut extract before baking.