Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is a fresh loaf of banana bread, still warm from the oven. To create a decadent dessert, I have combined that simple loaf with a velvety chocolate ganache. Top it with a spoon of crème fraiche or a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and the result is an elegant comfort food fit for any occasion — even breakfast.

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

Makes: 10 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 45 minutes

Level: Easy

2 loaves banana bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (10 cups, loosely packed)

2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
To make the pudding:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Fill 10 6-ounce oven-safe ramekins with the banana bread cubes and set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan bring the cream to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Swirl the pot gently so the chocolate is completely covered by the cream, cover the pot and let sit for 3 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Add the half-and-half, brown sugar, rum and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet. Slowly ladle the chocolate mixture over the banana bread.

You will want to gently push the cubes into the chocolate, so that the bread will absorb the chocolate. Fill the ramekins nearly to the top.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the chocolate is set firm on the edges, but the center is still a little soft.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. They can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled. You can also reheat them for about 30 seconds in the microwave or 10 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.

Top with unsweetened crème fraiche at brunch or with your favorite ice cream for dessert.

More Baking Recipes from Zoe:

Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day  and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day , studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com and on the site, www.breadin5.com.

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