Just what does everyone make with the milk, bread, and eggs they buy before a big storm hits? One possibility when you're all holed up is bread pudding! OK, so this one is a little richer with half-and-half instead of milk, and you've got to have some chocolate and bananas on hand. But when you need a break from shoveling a foot of snow and shaking your fist at the plowmen who piled a snow wall at your driveway, there will be bread pudding waiting for you.
Not my house, in case you had stalking intentions. But the scene is pretty. My honest thoughts about the bread pudding? Definitely better cold, and not warm from the oven. And it was good, but I think I had built up my expectations too high. I'd rather have chocolate cake, or a banana split. Even better, cinnamon raisin bread pudding.
The bread was soaked in the chocolate custard overnight. I almost forgot to add the bananas the next morning before they went in the oven! You can see that I switched the square pan up to a larger size. Both the ramekins and the 10-by-7-inch pan were done in 45 minutes, in case you're interested in making smaller batches. I also halved the recipe, since it makes a lot of bread pudding!
Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding From Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe
Serves 10 to 12
6 to 7 cups ½-inch-cubed day-old white bread (the weight depends on type of bread) 6 ounces (170 grams) milk chocolate, chopped 2 ounces (56 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pebble-sized pieces 6 cups (1.4 kilograms) half-and-half 2 eggs 6 egg yolks ½ cup (100 grams) sugar ¼ tsp kosher salt 3 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into slices ⅛ inch to ¼ inch thick
Spread the bread cubes evenly over the bottom of a deep 9-by-13-inch baking dish or roasting pan. Place the milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, scald the half-and-half over medium-high heat (bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, but the cream is not boiling). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then gently whisk together the chocolate and cream until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until blended, and then slowly whisk in the sugar and salt until combined. Slowly add the hot chocolate-cream mixture to the egg-sugar mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, then pour it over the bread. Mix the custard and bread well to make sure all of the bread cubes are soaking evenly. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 30 degrees.
Stir the banana slices into the bread pudding. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until just barely set. To test for doneness, insert a knife in the middle of the pudding and bend it back a bit to see if the custard mix has set up. If liquid fills the hole made with the knife, the pudding needs more time. When the pudding is ready, remove from the oven and let rest for at least 2 hours. Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate and serve chilled.
The bread pudding can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.