Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Peanut Butterscotch Banana Bread Puddings

I love baking for my dad. It had been a while since I made a treat for him, and when I came across a Salted Caramel Banana Bread Pudding in my copy of Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts: Quicker Smarter Recipes by Alice Medrich I was won over by a combination of elements: first, the ingredients were easy to access, affordable and (above all) delicious. Second, bread pudding in general is dead-simple to whip up, and who doesn't have a few crusts of bread (or in my case, leftover panini buns) hanging around? Finally, the presentation of the puddings as individual desserts rather than one big casserole meant that I could scale it as needed and that leftovers wouldn't get that weird "film" most custards do when refrigerated. Whenever I think of bread pudding, I think of him, and knew that with a few tweaks to the recipe I could come up with something fantastic that was definitely to my dad's tastes.

Aside from adoring bananas and bread pudding (or anything custardy in general) my dad is also a big fan of butterscotch and peanut butter. While I know salted caramel is a "big thing" these days, I found a butterscotch sauce recipe in Medrich's book as well that I couldn't wait to try out. I took some major liberties with the mixture along the way, though, using coconut milk in place of the heavy cream, extra Scotch and peanut butter for the standard dairy butter. I was terrified that the whole thing would blow up in my face - but you know what? It worked! I got a silky smooth, dark and rich mixture that became the "magic" with the bread pudding mixture.

Since I did not have the 6-oz ramekins Medrich calls for in the book, nor could I find any, I dug up some old (oven safe) coffee mugs from the basement and used those. The slices of stale, whole grain panini bun that I used were the perfect size for the cups, and the flavour of the whole wheat lent an additional nuttiness that played off well with the peanut butter sauce. I tossed in some extra bananas just because my dad likes them, and the custard was cobbled together from the end of a carton of no-cholesterol egg substitute, Coconut Dream®, and a touch of caramel-flavoured stevia. All in all it was a rich, decadent dessert that somehow I can see being eaten for Sunday brunch... who am I to judge?

Peanut Butterscotch Banana Bread Puddings
Makes 4 coffee mug sized puddings, 8 servings
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Peanut Butterscotch Sauce (see below)
2 whole grain panini buns, sliced thinly crosswise and lightly toasted
3 ripe bananas, sliced on an angle into 14" thick pieces
3/4 cup Egg Creations egg substitute (or 3 eggs)
2 packets caramel-flavoured stevia
pinch salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups original Coconut Dream® (or canned coconut milk)
1 tsp raw sugar, for topping
  1. Stir the salt into the Peanut Butterscotch Sauce.
  2. Grease the insides of four (8-oz) oven-safe coffee mugs and pour 1 1/2 tbsp butterscotch into the bottom of each.
  3. Spread remaining sauce on one side of each bread slice and top with a slice of banana. Top with more butterscotch and another slice of bread, stacking as high as the coffee cup with the top slice facing butterscotch-side down.
  4. On either side of the stack, place one slice of bread with butterscotch and banana side inward. Repeat to fill the remaining mugs.
  5. Whisk the Egg Creations, stevia, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  6. Whisk in the Coconut Dream.
  7. Fill each mug with the egg mixture, and let stand 45 minutes. Top up the mixture in the mugs as necessary.
  8. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  9. Sprinkle the tops of each bread pudding with the sugar and place mugs into a 9" square pan that can comfortably hold the mugs.
  10. Put the pan in the oven and pour boiling water into the pan to come a third of the way up the sides of the mugs.
  11. Bake 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the puddings comes out mostly clean.
  12. Let cool for 10 minutes in the water bath, then remove with tongs.
  13. If not serving within 2 hours, cover and refrigerate.
  14. Serve the puddings in their cups, warm, at room temperature, cold, or reheated individually for a few seconds in the microwave. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 250.3
Total Fat: 7.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 138.4 mg
Total Carbs: 49.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 6.1 g

A word to the wise regarding the butterscotch sauce: ensure the coconut milk is warm before stirring into the sugar, or it will separate and curdle.

Peanut Butterscotch Sauce
Adapted from Alice Medrich
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp Scotch
1 cup dark brown sugar
pinch sea salt
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  1. Combine the water, scotch and sugar in a saucepan set over medium heat.
  2. Cook, uncovered, swirling the pan occasionally to redistribute the sugar (do not stir), until the mixture is dark and the bubbles all over the surface get smaller and slower to pop.
  3. While sugar cooks, warm the coconut milk and peanut butter together until fingertip-warm.
  4. When sugar syrup reaches the correct stage, remove from the heat and stir in the milk mixture.
  5. Place back over low heat and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Amount Per (2-tbsp) Serving
Calories: 152.4
Total Fat: 5.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 31.2 mg
Total Carbs: 30.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 1.4 g

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