Banana-Cherry-Cardamom Bread Pudding with Chai-Spiced Whipped Nut Cream

I just finished cooking for a three day event; there are so many things I love  about cooking like this – the creativity of menu-planning, melding the likes and dislikes of 25 different people, the fact that I am finally doing something that I really love…But what I’m thinking of now is that last day, when there are leftovers and extra ingredients here and there, leaving me with the challenge of concocting something new, delicious, and unexpected.  In this particular case, it’s also something simple, homey, and versatile.

I have actually never had bread pudding, at least according to my slightly faulty childhood memory.  My Dad is a big fan of bread pudding, rice pudding, tapioca pudding, flan, but for some reason I always stayed away from all things custardy.  My point is that maybe this is like traditional bread pudding, maybe (probably) not, but it’s delicious either way and I hope you enjoy it.

Whatever it is or isn’t, it is a fabulous use for leftover cut bread, which I had in abundance.  I used a sourdough multi-sprouted-grain molasses poppyseed bread in combination with a little fennel seed bread, but you could use any bread that doesn’t have flavors contrary to or that will overpower sweet, coconutty, chai-type spices (read garlic bread, sundried tomato bread, and the like).  This particular recipe is not overly-sweet and if you want, you could even look at it as a decadent breakfast.

I’ve only made this once, but I see many variations in my future.  I actually did make two versions – apple-blueberry with egg and banana-cherry without and, as often is the case, I preferred the eggless version.  I find that eggs, though clearly invaluable in certain dishes, can overpower the simple tastes of other foods, so when something can be made without eggs, I always go that route.  That goes along with my personal belief in the minimal use of animal products – love when things line up like that.

  • 4-5 cups of bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 Tablespoons ghee or unrefined coconut oil
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas (depending on size), divided
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 2 cups frozen cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Oil an 11×7 baking dish, or equivilant.  Have a slightly larger baking pan or tray available so you can create a water bath for your baking dish.  Put the bread cubes in the dish and put it in the preheating oven to dry out the bread.  Put the coconut milk, ghee or coconut oil, salt, 1/2 the total quantity of banana, coconut sugar, and spices in the blender and process until smooth.  Remove the bread cubes from the oven and add the frozen cherries, then pour the coconut milk mixture over the bread and fruit and gently shake the dish a few times to coat all of the bread.  Thinly slice the remaining banana and arrange it on top, then sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon.  Put the baking dish inside the larger dish and fill the larger one about 3/4 full with water.  Carefully place them in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the bread underneath is soft and moist and the bread on top is crispy.

Chai-Spiced Whipped Nut Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours, then drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut butter (or 2 teaspoons coconut oil), optional
  • 3/4-1 cup water, or as needed for consistency
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, using additional water as necessary for proper blending and to get the consistency you want.  It can be thick to be spooned on top, or thinned a bit to be used as a drizzle.  This topping is also delicious on baked fruit, cakes, cookies, pancakes, etc.  Enjoy!

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1 Comment »

  1. […] then layer with sliced ripe fresh pears tossed in lemon juice, fresh ginger, and cinnamon; top with Brazil Nut Cream GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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