Tropical bread pudding

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This is somewhat improvised based on different recipes for different kinds of bread pudding. I'm not sure that 4 cups of liquid was necessary. I also think that brown sugar -- rather than white -- might have been more appropriate for this bread pudding variation.

The Joy of Cooking states that if a bread pudding is more liquid custard than bread, it's best to cook in a bain marie to avoid a dry and somewhat curdled custard. (In contrast, if there's enough bread to soak up all the custard, you can cook the pudding without a bain marie. My 9x13 pan does not fit into our roasting pan, so I put the roasting pan full of hot water on the rack directly under the bread pudding. This probably does not replicate the gentle and even heating of a bain marie, but at least there was the steam...!


Ingredients

  • 1 lb loaf of day-old (or older) Boudin sourdough -- cubed
  • 1 15-oz can light coconut milk + enough milk to equal 2 liquid cups
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1:1 mixture of 1% and whole milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (approx.) mango puree (from about 10 ounces of mango)
  • 1-2 Tbsp rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe (but not too ripe!) bananas

Directions

1. Generously butter 9x13 pan (preferably one that fits into a roasting pan deep enough to make a bain marie).

2. Spread bread cubes in pan and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. In a large heat-proof bown large enough to hold at least 5 cups of liquid, whisk together eggs, yolks, and sugar. Grind in some nutmeg -- about 1/8 tsp.

5. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and coconut milk together until steaming (do not boil).

6. Pour approximately 1/4 cup milk slowly into egg mixture, whisking quickly. This will temper the egg mixture so that the rest of the hot milk, when added, won't scramble the eggs. Continue to slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture while rapidly whisking. Add mango puree, rum, and vanilla and stir to combine.

7. Slice bananas into 1/2" pieces and intersperse within the bread cubes in the pan.

8. Pour custard over the bread and bananas, taking care to evenly coat all of them. Let pan sit for about a half hour at room temperature.

10. Meanwhile, line a large roasting pan with a dish towel or a couple paper towels' width. Bring a full teakettle's worth of water just to a boil. Turn off heat.

11. After bread has soaked for about a half hour, put it the roasting pan on top of the towel(s). Add enough hot water from teakettle to come up to no higher than half the 9x13 pan. Carefully place bread pudding bain marie setup in the oven.

12. Cook for 1 to 1-1/4 hours until surface is browned and the pudding is puffy and starting to pull away from the sides.

13. Let cool for at least a half hour before serving.