Recipe: dense, moist banana bread pudding from The Westerly
By Geoff Kitt and Victoria Zielinski
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
REFRIGERATION TIME: 3 hours
BAKE TIME: 50 minutes
Serves 8 to 12
BANANA BREAD PUDDING
Butter for greasing
½ vanilla bean
2½ cups 35 per cent cream
2½ cups 10 per cent cream
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Large baguette or loaf of brioche
3 ripe bananas, mashed
5 large eggs, plus 5 large yolks
¾ cup maple syrup
1. Using a small paring knife, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Place in a medium saucepan along with both creams, sugar and cinnamon. Set over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until steaming but not boiling. Set aside and allow ingredients to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
2. Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cut bread into 1-inch slices. Place them on a baking sheet and toast in centre of oven for 4 to 6 minutes until slightly hard around edges.
3. Whisk the eggs and yolks in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled vanilla bean–cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Fold in the mashed bananas.
4. Line the bottom of the pan with bread slices, making sure to fill in any gaps. Drizzle a third of the maple syrup over the bread slices. Pour the custard over the bread slices to cover. Add another third of maple syrup and top with more custard. Finish with another layer
of bread slices and remaining third of maple syrup. Slowly add more custard and press down lightly to ensure the bread is soaked. Don’t worry if you don’t use all of the custard. Cover the pan and chill for a few hours or overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 350º F. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until lightly golden and puffed. Let cool slightly, cut squares and serve warm with toasted walnuts and caramel sauce.
Make sure your bananas are very ripe so they have potent flavour and mash smoothly to match the custard’s texture.
GEOFF KITT AND VICTORIA ZIELINSKI
Pastry chef Victoria Zielinski spent eight years building elaborate custom wedding cakes at Culinary Productions, the catering company she started with her husband, Chris. The dessert menu she developed at The Westerly, the homey Roncesvalles bistro, is decidedly more low-key than the fondant-draped tiers she was used to making. Here, Zielinski’s creations are comforting and simple, and taste like something from your grandma’s dog-eared, batter-stained cookbook. This banana bread pudding is a favourite of The Westerly’s chef Geoff Kitt. He and Zielinski tested many variations of the recipe until they came up with a winner: a dense, super-moist, caramel-soaked, maple syrup–drenched sticky pudding. It’s also, miraculously, not too sweet.
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