with Custard Sauce and Banana-Rum Sauce

This recipe is one of my mom's, and it was the first bread pudding I'd ever had that was served with two sauces. She served it at a dinner during Jazzfest a couple of years ago and blew everyone away.

For the bread pudding:  Mix egg yolks with sugar and beat until light yellow. Add milk, liquors, extracts, cinnamon and the mashed bananas, mixing well.

In a mixer, beat the seven egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into the egg yolk mixture. Add the raisins and the sliced bananas, folding them in gently and being careful not to deflate the egg whites.

Place the stale bread pieces into a large bowl, then pour half of the egg mixture over and mix well. Let soak for at least 10 minutes, then add the other half, and soak another 10 minutes.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and use it to coat a 9" x 12" baking dish. Pour the bread mixture into the dish, then cover with foil and place into a bain marie (or water bath -- put the dish into a roasting pan and pour hot water into the roasting pan until it's about 2/3 the way up the side of the baking dish). Bake at 350°F for one hour. Remove foil, then finish baking until the center is set, about 15 more minutes (or longer if necessary). Glaze the top of the pudding with 1 tablespoon of butter while it's still hot.

For the custard sauce:  Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until light yellow, then add the milk and mix well. Make a slurry with the corn starch and 3 tablespoons cold water, mix until dissolved, then add the corn starch slurry, extracts and liquors. Cook in a double boiler until thickened, and the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

For the Bananas Foster sauce:  Melt the butter, add the brown sugar and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the sugar has melted and dissolved. Add the liquors, heat until warm and carefully ignite. Stir constantly and toss a few pinches of cinnamon into the flames (it'll sparkle beautifully), then add the custard sauce and the pecans; cook for 1 minute.

Assembly:  Slice the pudding into individual servings. Place a pool of custard sauce onto a dessert plate and place a slice of bread pudding in the middle. Drizzle liberally with the Bananas Foster Sauce. You may additionally garnish with a dollop of Crème Chantilly and a sprig of mint.

Go on a diet the next day.

YIELD:  12-16 servings.


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)