What’s Up, Hungry People!
Every so often, when the hunger pangs hit hard, I find myself at Jimmy John’s scarfing down a sub. But here’s a pro tip: don’t just walk out with a sandwich. Grab some of their day-old bread, often sold at discounted prices. This thrifty hack saved me during my college years, when bread was just 25 cents a loaf—yeah, you read that right!
Unleashing the Power of Day-Old Bread
So I recently snagged two loaves for just a dollar (bargain alert!) and started brainstorming on creative ways to put this budget-friendly bread to good use. Spoiler alert: Jimmy John’s bread is more versatile than you think! After some pondering, it hit me—why not whip up some easy bread pudding? And since my countertop was hosting a few ripening bananas, banana bread pudding was destined to happen. For the best results, opt for bananas that are just a smidgen past their prime. You want them slightly firm but not overly mushy to achieve that just-right sweetness and texture.
Here’s What You Need:
- French baguette: Provides the structure for the pudding. Day-old bread absorbs the custard better.
- Melted Butter: Adds moisture and richness, helps the bread brown during baking.
- Eggs: Act as a binding agent, giving the pudding structure and creaminess.
- Milk: Provides the liquid base for the custard, contributes to a creamy texture.
- Sugar: Adds sweetness and balances the flavors.
- Cinnamon: Introduces warm, aromatic spice to elevate the dish.
- Nutmeg: Complements cinnamon, offering depth and an extra layer of flavor.
- Vanilla: Enhances the overall sweetness and aroma.
- Ripe Bananas: Contribute natural sweetness and fruity notes, as well as some texture.
Milk Glaze Ingredients:
- Butter: Adds creaminess and a rich texture to the glaze.
- Sugar: Sweetens the glaze, balances out the milk and butter.
- Cornstarch: Acts as a thickening agent for a smoother glaze.
- Milk: Provides the liquid base, making the glaze pourable.
- Corn Syrup: Adds viscosity and a glossy finish.
- Vanilla: Gives aromatic sweetness to the glaze.
Prepping for Success
The secret sauce to making any bread pudding delectably moist lies in soaking the bread. You’re going to want to immerse those bread chunks in a spiced milk and egg mixture for at least 10 minutes. Heck, some recipes even advocate an overnight soak. But whatever you do, add the bananas last. This is crucial, folks! You don’t want those bananas turning into a soggy, brown mess before they even hit the oven.
Serving Suggestions: Flexibility is Key
Let’s talk about how to serve this banana bread pudding. You can plate this culinary masterpiece either as a French toast alternative for breakfast or as a toothsome dessert after dinner. And don’t forget to drizzle it with a warm, creamy milk glaze for that extra oomph. Trust me; you won’t regret it.
Tips for Nailing Your Banana Bread Pudding:
- Use Day-Old Bread: The older, the better when it comes to bread pudding. Stale bread will absorb the custard mix more efficiently, leading to a creamier result. If your bread is too fresh, consider toasting it lightly to help it absorb the custard.
- Choosing Bananas: Use bananas that are slightly past their prime but not overly ripe. This ensures optimal sweetness without compromising texture. If your bananas are too ripe, they may become mushy in the pudding.
- Custard Soaking Time: While the recipe suggests a minimum of 10 minutes for soaking the bread, you can extend this to an hour or even overnight for a denser, more flavorful pudding. Just make sure to refrigerate if soaking for longer periods.
- Check for Doneness: Use a toothpick to test if the pudding is cooked through. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go. However, some ovens may require a few extra minutes; just keep an eye on it.
- Glaze Consistency: If your glaze is too thin, you can return it to the heat and simmer while stirring until it thickens to your liking. If it’s too thick, you can dilute it with a bit more milk. Always taste and adjust the sweetness accordingly.
The Final Verdict: Feast Your Taste Buds
This banana bread pudding didn’t stand a chance in our house. My boyfriend and I annihilated an entire pan over the course of one short weekend. I can say, with zero reservations, that it was ridiculously good! The day-old Jimmy John’s bread really worked its magic. So the next time you’re at Jimmy John’s, do yourself a favor and grab some day-old bread. Your taste buds (and wallet) will thank you.
Banana Bread Pudding
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the day-old bread into 1-inch cubes and place them into a small bowl. Pour the melted butter over the bread cubes.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes and let them soak for at least 10 minutes.
- Grease a 9×9-inch pan with butter or cooking spray. Pour the soaked bread cubes and the remaining egg mixture into the pan, spreading them into an even layer. Add the chopped bananas last, pressing them into the open spaces between the bread cubes.
- Bake the bread pudding for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- While the bread pudding is baking, in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stir together the butter, sugar, cornstarch, milk, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the vanilla into the milk glaze and remove it from the heat. Allow the glaze to cool until warm and then pour it over the baked banana bread pudding. Serve warm or at room temperature; the glaze will stiffen and set once cooled. Enjoy!