comfort food…

As spring works her way into the East Coast, our days are punctuated with rainy, blustery, dark days. I savor these last wintry days, and hope for the sunshine. These days just beg for warm sweaters, down blankets, and of course comfort food.  Simple, familiar, home-cooked food, you can dig out of your pantry without leaving your home. Nothing screams comfort like warm, creamy, velvety soft bread, with a touch of sweet and savory.  It will make your home smell divine and warm your soul.

banana bread pudding with dulce de leche

1 loaf rustic Tuscan round bread (any round white will do)

1 ½ cup milk

½ cup heavy whipping cream

3 eggs

3 tbs granulated sugar, plus 1 tsp

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 dash bitter almond extract (Swedish/optional)

1tbs melted butter

3 ripe bananas cut on the bias

¼ cup dulce de leche; store bought or homemade, or any caramel sauce you might have

dash of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×10 inch pan.  Pour caramel on the bottom and a sprinkle of salt. Tear bread into ¾-1 inch cubes.  To make custard, whisk together milk, cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Cut bananas on the bias about ½ inch thick.  Put ½ of bread cubes into buttered pan over caramel.  Wedge in bananas.    Repeat for a second layer. Pour melted butter over top layer of bread. Pour custard mixture over bread and evenly cover until pan is almost full. Let stand for 30 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tsp granulated sugar over the top. Place into oven and bake 40 minutes. Bake until nice golden brown on the top, and bread springs back when tapped lightly.

Note:

To make and easy homemade dulce de leche, take one can sweetened condensed milk, punch holes in the top of the can. Place can in a pot of water filled halfway up the can. Boil in the pot until the milk seeps out of the can and is a nice toasty, caramel brown, and thick in texture. Keep refilling the pot with water as necessary. This can take up to 2 hours. Open can and mix.  I like mine on the darker side for more depth in flavor. I also add about a 1/2 tsp kosher salt before mixing.

Cook together, toast to each other, and share!

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