Banana Walnut Bread Pudding Recipe

An irresistible dessert topped with chocolate butterscotch sauce from the Blue Ribbon restaurants. This bread pudding is golden brown, crunchy on the outside and custardy smooth on the inside. A white chocolate butterscotch sauce is the perfect topping. The white chocolate softens the bitterness of the caramel and brings a luscious creamy texture to the sauce. Bananas are ideal, but if you don't have any ripe ones around, you can leave them out. The sauce can also be drizzled over ice cream, pound cake or sliced fruit.

Banana Walnut Bread Pudding
1 vanilla bean
11 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 cups heavy cream
1 (12 oz.) baguette or other white bread, cut into 1″ cubes (about 10 cups)
1 lb. bananas, peeled and sliced 1/2″ thick (2-4 bananas)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Butterscotch banana sauce (see below)

White Chocolate Butterscotch With Bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
1 lb. plus 2 oz. finely chopped white chocolate (see Blue Ribbon Wisdom below)
2 bananas, diced


Banana Walnut Bread Pudding

Step 1: Using a small, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a bowl; reserve the pod. Add the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar and whisk until thick and yellow (whisk the mixture immediately to prevent the sugar from “cooking” the eggs).

Step 2: In a medium pot, combine the cream, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and the reserved vanilla bean pod. Bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Immediately remove from the heat; discard the pod. Whisking constantly, pour a small amount of the cream into the egg yolk mixture. Add the rest, a little at a time, until the cream is fully incorporated. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. You can make the custard up to one day ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator.

Step 3: Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Combine the bread, bananas, and walnuts in the pan, making sure everything is well distributed. Pour in just enough custard mixture to completely cover the bread (you may have some leftover; save it). Let stand for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour (or let it rest overnight in the refrigerator). If the bread absorbs all the custard, top it off with a little more. Then firmly press the bread down into the custard so it’s submerged.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 5: Cover the pan with foil. Place the pudding pan in a larger pan, adding just enough hot water to the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake until the pudding is lightly set and a knife inserted in the centre comes out almost clean, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. The pudding may be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated to serve. Before serving, drizzle with the butterscotch banana sauce (see below).

White Chocolate Butterscotch With Bananas

Step 1: In a heavy skillet, combine the sugar and 2 tbsp water over medium heat. Cook, tilting the pan occasionally so that the sugar cooks evenly, until the sugar turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let darken to a deep, nutty brown.

Step 2: Carefully pour in the cream (it will splatter). Return the sauce to the heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts again and the mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer.

Step 3: Put the white chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the sauce is smooth. Stir in the bananas and cook, stirring, until heated through. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and reheat to serve.

Blue Ribbon Wisdom

Variations of bread pudding can take on a lot of forms. If you love fruit, you can make it with fruit; if you love chocolate, you can make it with chocolate; if you love walnuts and candied ginger… The banana and chocolate versions are the most popular, so the Blue Ribbon Restaurants always have them on the menu. But the Bromberg brothers still like to come up with new flavours, and they have all been well-received — especially rum raisin, apple and dried cherry, and even a version with lichee, which is a great complement to the menu at Blue Ribbon Sushi. So let your taste buds be your guide, and come up with your own house favourite.

Reprinted with permission from the Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook (2010 Clarkson Potter) by Bruce Bromberg, Eric Bromberg and Melissa Clark.

Photo Bromberg Brothers Blue Ribbon Cookbook