Sunday, June 1, 2008

Banana bread pudding has tropical flavor

As I skated in a nearby park today, I wondered what it would be like to live in a tropical Paradise such as Hawaii where the weather was warm and balmy every day.

Here in New England, after a cool spring, we’re just starting to enjoy outside activities without wearing a coat. So on this fair, sunny afternoon I dreamed about distant lands and also the fresh produce that’s available to enjoy in spectacular cuisine.

Our good friend, Hawaii food columnist, and cookbook author Sonia Martinez has compiled her food articles and recipes, which were originally published in The Hamakua Times, into a cookbook, Tropical Taste. After growing up in Cuba, Sonia found, on moving to Hawaii, many of the same varieties of exotic fruits and vegetables she was familiar with.

In an article titled “Going Bananas,” she discusses the two major groups of dessert bananas in Hawaii, the Cavendish and the Brazilian. She also includes a wonderful recipe for banana bread pudding and a banana sauce to top it off. Mahalo Sonia!!

(from Tropical Taste cookbook by Sonia Martinez)

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Vegetable pan spray
2 slices day-old whole wheat or raisin bread
1 small banana, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 eggs
1 cup skim or low-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla or rum extract
Ground cinnamon, optional
(Banana Sauce below)

Lightly coat 4 (6-ounce) custard cups with cooking spray. Into each cup, tear 1/2 slice of bread into cubes. Add 4 to 5 banana slices in each cup. Place cups in large baking pan, filled with about one inch hot water.
In covered blender container or medium bowl, blend or beat together well eggs, sugar, milk, and flavoring until well blended. Pour over bread and bananas. With back of spoon, press bread and bananas below custard. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Refrigerate several hours or overnight OR bake immediately in 350-degree F. oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove; cool on wire rack 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 bananas, sliced
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch salt

Boil 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water to make syrup, until it threads. Remove from heat. Add banana slices. Add lemon juice and well-beaten eggs. Add pinch salt and mash and beat it all together until smooth. (You can use a blender.) This sauce is wonderful over the banana bread pudding.

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