Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding with Banana Caramel Sauce

Serves 12


Chocolate Banana Bread

 ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
¼ cup good quality cocoa
½ cup buttermilk
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


 Bread Pudding

4 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1./2 cup sugar
1 point half and half cream
1 teaspoon vanilla


 Banana Sauce

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 sups heavy cream
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced


To prepare the banana bread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in eggs, adding them 2 at time.  Add bananas and vanilla.

Sift together the flour, soda, chile powder, and cocoa onto a piece of waxed paper.  Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix well.  To the banana mixture, add ½ of the buttermilk and then another 1/3 of the flour mixture; repeat until all of the banana mixture buttermilk and flour mixture are mixed well.  Add chopped chocolate and mix until just combined.  Turn into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Cool and unmold.  Note: can be made a day ahead of time.  Cut chocolate banana bread into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

To prepare the bread pudding, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.   Butter the bottom and side of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Evenly spread the banana bread cubes in the bottom of the pan.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the ship attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar at medium speed until pale yellow in color,  about 3 to 5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the half and half and vanilla.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and press down with the back of a spatula until the bread is evenly coated.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until the custard is set, about q hour.  Cool slightly, cut into squares, and transfer plates.

To prepare the caramel sauce, in a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium0-high heat, stirring gently, until then sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to high and cook, not stirring at all, until the mixture turn dark amber in color, about q9 minutes.  Standing back (the mixture will splatter), carefully and gradually add the cream, and then the bananas.  Continue cooking until the cream is well incorporated and the bananas are broken up.  Ladle warm sauce over each serving of bread pudding and serve immediately.