Every once in a while I get on a baking kick that my family and friends just can't keep up with. Sounds unlikely right? Wrong. One week I baked a loaf of regular dairy free banana bread, dairy free double chocolate chip banana bread, 6 HUGE strawberry scones and a dozen cinnamon rolls with frosting. Needless to say, a bunch of that went to work with the Mister and some of it got parceled out to folks I know down at the Embassy. But, I STILL had most of the banana breads left.
But...what the heck do you do with that much banana bread when one person can't POSSIBLY consume it and is kinda sick of the same old, same old...no matter how wonderful it tastes??
You make calico bread pudding out of it of course!!
Dairy Free Calico Banana Bread Pudding
2 c. regular banana bread cubes, dried
2 c. double chocolate chip banana bread cubes, dried
2 c. unsweetened soy milk
1 c. organic cane sugar
1 T. Madagascar bourbon vanilla paste
1 c. unsweetened coconut
3 T. coconut milk powder
1/2 c. crushed pecans, optional
1/4 c. toasted unsweetened coconut
1/4 c. organic dark brown cane sugar
1/2 c. vegan butter
1/2 c. organic dark brown cane sugar
1/2 c. organic cane sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. Madagascar bourbon vanilla paste
1/4 c. unsweetened apple juice OR bourbon
The very first thing you need to do is cube up the loaves and get them dried out. This can be accomplished by cubing it up and putting it on a pan lined with foil and let it just sit on your counter or stove top and dry out 12 hours or over night. Either way, they only need to be sorta dried out. Banana bread's density changes the regular game on bread pudding. If the cubes are TOO dry, it will take a whole day of soaking to get the goop to absorb. You don't wanna mess with that!
To assemble the pudding, beat the eggs in a large bowl with the sugar. When they are well blended add in your vanilla paste, sift in the coconut milk powder and blend it well. Toss in your unsweetened coconut and crushed pecans and incorporate completely. After all the goop is mixed together pour it over the dried cubes and fold. Let it sit for 20 minutes, fold again. Repeat this 2 more times (stir a total of 3 times in an hour).
*If you make this with regular bread, no matter how dry your cubes are it will only take about 10-20 minutes for it to soak up the goop. You should also increase the sugar content from 1 cup to 2 cups. Quick breads are MUCH more dense and much more sweet than yeast breads. Also, because there is a TON of flavor in the banana breads already I didn't add any cinnamon or nutmeg to this goop. If you use plain dry bread or croissants or even dried up cake donuts (which is FABULOUS by the way!!) you'll want more flavor. Add what you know you love.
On a foil lined cookie sheet, with your broiler on low, toast your 1/4 c. of unsweetened coconut. When it is lightly toasted, remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely. After it has cooled, mix it with the 1/4 c. of brown sugar and set aside.
Preheat oven for 350 F
After the cubes have soaked, turn cubes into a WELL greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan and bake for 35-45 minutes.
While the pudding is baking, in a small saucepan begin to make your sauce. Start by melting the butter. When it has melted most of the way, remove it from the heat and whisk in your sugars. When the sugar is completely mixed with the butter add in your egg and vanilla paste. Put the saucepan back on the heat at medium-low heat and stir constantly while the sugar melts completely. Don't let the sugar scorch. When the sugar has melted and it doesn't look granulated anymore, stir in the juice or bourbon. Put it back on the heat and stir constantly until it JUST begins to boil. Then take it off of the heat. Pour through a sieve into a glass dish so it can cool into a syrup quickly. Set the sauce aside.
Remove the pudding from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve in a bowl with a nice, liberal drizzle of the sauce. If you like, you can serve it with a small scoop of ice cream on top. With or without the ice cream, this pudding is TO DIE FOR!!