From Chef Emeril Lagasse, through the kind donation of the folks at I once served this as a very non-traditional finish after a four-course meal of baked mushrooms in sour cream, Georgian-style lobio (red beans), Uzbek shashlyk (shish-kebab) and plov (pilaf) for a group of Russian dinner guests who afterwards were all weeping with nostalgia for their babushka's cooking. After this dessert I had them weeping in joy and anticipation of a visit to New Orleans.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a baking dish (about 10 x 14 inches) with 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, cream, and milk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, bananas, pecans, bread, and chocolate and stir to blend thoroughly. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into the pudding mixture and pour into the baking dish. Bake until firm, for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow the pudding to cool on a rack until just warm before cutting into squares.

To serve, spread about 2 tablespoons of the Mint Crème Anglaise on each plate and top with a square of the pudding. Add a dollop of whipped cream, and dust with confectioners sugar.

Yield: 15 servings

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Chuck Taggart   email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com