So my dad requested bread pudding for his visit which was easy enough to accomplish. I did a search on epicurious for recipes and said the title for each of them to my mom. She picked three recipes and then we let Chris make the final decision. (My mom didn't want to decide and my dad would have just said whatever mom wants...) Chris picked the Banana Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.
Like most bread puddings this was incredibly easy to put together. The only really different thing was that the bananas were briefly cooked on the stove with some sugar before going into the pan with the bread, rum-steeped currants, pecans, and milk/egg mixture. I did mess up a bit with the rum sauce because I was chatting with my mom instead of paying attention to the instructions -- I should have melted the butter, then added everything except for the rum and bringing it all to a boil, only adding the rum at the very end. Since I wasn't really paying attention, I dumped everything into the pan and once and brought the whole thing to a boil. I don't really think I hurt anything, except for burning off the alcohol in the rum...
The flavor was good -- nice and banana-y and I really liked the crunch of the pecans and the crust of the bread. I kind of felt like it was missing something though and I can't quite put my finger on what. My best guess is cinnamon to give it a nice spice flavor, but I would be more than willing to take opinions on that. The recipe calls for pre-sliced white bread, but I used the challah I made earlier this week just for this purpose. Because the white bread would have been much softer than the challah, I actually let the bread soak in the milk/egg mixture for about 30 minutes before baking it.
1/3 cup raisins or currants
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 bananas, peeled, halved crosswise and then lengthwise
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups whipping cream
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces firm white bread slices, crusts trimmed, each slice cut into 3 strips
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons dark rum
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add bananas and 2 tablespoons sugar and cook until bananas are tender, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Combine whipping cream, eggs, vanilla extract and remaining 1/4 cup rum and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9X5X3-inch loaf pan. Arrange 1/3 of bread strips crosswise in bottom of prepared pan. Arrange 6 banana pieces atop bread. Sprinkle with half of raisins and half of pecans. Arrange 1/3 of bread strips crosswise atop bananas. Pour half of egg mixture over. Arrange remaining banana pieces atop bread. Sprinkle with remaining raisins and pecans. Arrange remaining bread strips crosswise atop bananas.
Pour remaining egg mixture over. Press gently on top layer to compact. Let stand 15 minutes.
Bake bread pudding until puffed and golden and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool slightly.
Cut bread pudding into slices. Arrange on plates; drizzle with warm Rum Sauce and serve.
MAKE RUM SAUCE (Makes about 1 cup):
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cream, sugar and salt. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in rum. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat, stirring constantly.)