Banana and Cranberry Bread Pudding

This recipe is all about the baguette that was slowly dying on my counter. And though I love a good baguette (smeared with butter), I wasn’t really in the mood. The baguette in question had been on my counter for a couple of days now and likely would have made it to my garbage at some point tomorrow. But I didn’t want to throw it away, so I got to thinking and looking around my kitchen and this is what came of it.

I should also note that I didn’t have all of the ingredients necessary for a typical bread pudding, so I improvised. I didn’t have milk or enough soy milk, so as I’ve done so many times before, I used half and half cut with water. I didn’t have enough sugar so I added a banana and some dried cranberries along with some sugar. I also didn’t have any vanilla, but I’m hoping that the flavor from the banana will suffice on that front as well. So, this recipe is a lesson about using what you have on hand and making something beautiful and delicious.

I hope you enjoy.

Recipe

  • Baguette or bread, 3 1/2 cups, stale and cubed (about 2/3 of a baguette)
  • Dried Cranberries, 1/4 cup
  • Banana, 1, chopped
  • Half and Half, 1 cup
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Eggs, 2
  • Sugar, 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg, a pinch
  • Butter, 3 tbsp. divided
  • Pecans, 1/4 cup, chopped and toasted
  • Maple Syrup for dressing (optional)

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.

Melt two tablespoons of butter and set aside to cool.

Add your bread, banana’s and cranberries to a medium sized baking dish. I don’t have many mid-sized baking vessels, but I do have a nice variety of cast iron, so I decided to use cast iron. This is an 8 inch skillet and worked perfectly. Toss ingredients together so that everything is distributed throughout. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add your milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and combine well with a whisk. Whisk in your cooled butter.

Pour the milk mixture over the top of the bread mixture and gently smoosh the bread down with a spatula or spoon. You don’t want to stir, your just helping the bread on top get it’s fair share of custard. Let this sit for about 5 minutes so the bread can drink up some of the liquid.

Once the bread has had a nice drink of custard, top it with the pecans. Take the last tablespoon of butter and chop it into small cubes and distribute evenly over the top of the custard. Bake for about an hour, checking around the 50 minute mark. When checking the custard should be firm and no longer soupy and the top will be golden.

*I’ve also made this with gluten free baguettes from the Whole Foods frozen section. It was absolutely delicious!

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