This decadent take on an iconic New Orleans dessert, from Mat & Naddie's Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, gilds the lily, pan-frying white chocolate-enriched bread pudding, and plating it with satiny caramel and bruleed bananas. This recipe first appeared in our December 2012 issue along with Ben Mims's story Beyond the Pale.
For the White Chocolate Bread Pudding
- 4 1⁄2 cups milk
- 20 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 12 oz. stale country white bread, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 8 cups)
- 6 oz. white chocolate, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1⁄2 cup toasted slivered almonds
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
For the Rum Sauce and Bananas
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tbsp. dark rum
- 1⁄2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 cup turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
- 4 bananas, halved lengthwise and then halved crosswise
Make the bread pudding: Bring 4 cups milk, 16 tbsp. butter, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt to a simmer in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; remove from heat, and let cool for 20 minutes. Combine bread, chocolate, and almonds in a large bowl; set aside. Add 6 eggs to milk mixture, and whisk until smooth. Pour custard over bread mixture, and stir until evenly combined; let sit to soften bread, about 20 minutes. Heat oven to 300°. Pour bread mixture into a 9" × 13" metal baking pan, making sure ingredients are evenly distributed, cover with foil, and bake until set, about 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, make rum sauce: Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves; cook, without stirring, until sugar turns into an amber-colored caramel, about 15 minutes. Add cream, butter, rum, and juice, and stir until smooth; set sauce aside.
Place flour and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes; whisk together remaining milk and eggs in a third shallow dish. Unmold bread pudding from pan, and cut into 8 rectangles. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Dredge each piece in flour, then coat in the milk mixture, and finally coat in bread crumbs. Add 4 pieces to skillet, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly; repeat with remaining butter and pieces. While pudding is still hot, top each with a chunk of white chocolate.
To serve, place turbinado sugar on a plate, and dip the flat cut-side of each banana quarter in sugar to cover completely; place sugar-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Using a handheld blowtorch or the broiler, heat sugar until melted and caramelized, about 6 minutes if broiling; set aside. Pour rum sauce in the middle of 8 serving plates, and place 1 piece pudding in the center of each; place 2 bruleed banana quarters on either side of the bread pudding.