In a former life…I used to have this special Friend who would pick me up once a week in a stretch limo…no kidding! It was about an hours drive to downtown Pittsburgh, where he loved to have lunch at one of his favorite spots…Ruth’s Chris…not only do I have the fondest memories of those weekly trips…but also the amazing Chocolate Bread Pudding we always had for dessert! As much as I am a self-proclaimed NON-BAKER…I have been getting into it a lot more lately…this fabulous dessert…I just had to try. See…I love FALL…FALL everything…it may still be the last dog days of Summer, but my mind is already thinking about Fall and Winter recipes! The original version of this recipe I found on Pinterest and can be viewed by clicking here! I just made a few slight changes…so grab four ripe bananas and a loaf of challah. I found this amazing one at Harris Teeter from Zaro’s Bakery!
Let’s talk bread…the original recipe called for french bread…and you can definitely use that if you wish. However, I was strolling the bakery aisle in my local Harris Teeter trying to find french bread for this recipe and I came across this lovely Challah bread and decided to use this instead…so very glad I did! Cut the bread into one inch cubes and place in a large bowl. I used this huge stainless steel bowl. Grab one for yourself by clicking here! I use this bowl quite often…definitely worth the investment.
Mash your bananas in a plate or bowl. In a separate bowl, combine and mix well the eggs, cream, milk, condensed milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.
Add in the mashed bananas, one cup of the chopped walnuts, and the chocolate chips. Stir to combine. I tried this recipe using regular sized chocolate chips and mini…use the mini…the larger chips have a tendency to create a bitter taste…not the case with the mini chocolate chips! Pour custard mixture onto the cubed bread and fold well so as to coat every single piece of bread.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Allow the bread to soak and absorb the custard for at least 20 minutes. Mix a few times during the soak.
Prepare a baking dish (9×13), by spraying with non-stick spray. Spread the bread pudding mixture evenly and allow to bake for about an hour. At about the 40-minute mark…top with the remaining chopped walnuts. Bread pudding is done when the middle is set…I have made this twice and the first time it took the entire hour and the second, it was done in 50 minutes…check often after 45 minutes…place knife in middle and if it comes out clean…it’s done…try hard NOT over bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the baking dish while your prepare the caramel sauce.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the caramel sauce. Microwave for thirty seconds…remove and stir…continue this in thirty second intervals until the sauce is bubbling…should take about a minute and a half to two minutes.
Cut bread pudding into squares and top with the caramel sauce and ENJOY!!! Get creative…use this basic custard mixture and create your own version! Please leave comments below!!!