Since I’m not qualified to tell you what Mardi Gras is all about, I turned to my ever trusty source of all information, Wikipedia:
“Mardi Gras”, “Mardi Gras season”, “‘Fat Tuesday'” and “Carnival season”, in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Epiphany or Kings day and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. The day is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday, from the word shrive, meaning “confess.” Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent.
I can totally get down with a holiday where you’re supposed to eat “richer fatty foods”. That ain’t a holiday – that describes my every day life! Minus the Lenten Fast because seriously, “fasting” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary.
I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans and celebrate Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, the closest I’ve come is New Orleans Square at Disneyland during a school trip in the 10th grade which is sooooooooo not the same. I’ll make it there someday. Until then, I can at least enjoy the delicious food that’s connected to this celebration.
In order to choose something sweet and appropriate for today’s post, I had to do a quick Google search of popular Mardi Gras desserts. A lot of the recipes that came up included bananas, bread pudding and bourbon, so that’s exactly what I made for you: banana bread pudding with salted bourbon caramel sauce.
Banana Bread Pudding
6 large eggs plus two egg yolks
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1/2 a can)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 ripe banana (no spots) diced
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
3/4 cup chocolate chips
6 cups stale bread (I used 2/3 loaf of French bread and 4 croissants), cut into bite sized pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F if you plan on baking your bread pudding soon after preparing it. I recommend letting it sit overnight in the fridge before baking (see comments below). Butter a 9 X 13 baking dish (I used a 9 inch cake pan with high sides. This recipe makes a lot so you want to make sure your dish will hold all of it).
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, mashed bananas, vanilla, bourbon and whisk together.
Next, add in both sugars, milk, condensed milk and cream. Whisk until fully combined. Add the bread, walnuts, chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix until all the ingredients are combined and are covered in the liquid.
Pour into your buttered pan and let sit for at least 30 minutes. I had mine in the fridge overnight, which I would highly recommend so that the bread becomes absolutely soaked in the liquid. This will yield a creamier bread pudding.
Bake in the centre of your heated oven until the centre is puffed and set, about 50 minutes to an hour.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
For topping my bread pudding, I used the same salted bourbon caramel sauce that I made for my last Sunday Supper post (see here). For your ease of reference, I’ll reproduce the recipe:
Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce (slightly adapted from Ezra Poundcake)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tsp vanilla
In a small saucepan, add the sugar, water and corn syrup. Don’t stir together. Bring it to a low boil.
Gently swirl the liquid in a circular motion but don’t stir it. Let it to boil down until it is a deep amber color, at least 10 minutes.
Carefully whisk in the cream and be careful of the rising steam (your mixture will bubble with the addition of the cream). Immediately whisk in the butter and stir over low heat until the mixture is smooth.
Add the vanilla, salt and bourbon, whisking to combine. Remove the caramel from the heat and allow to cool before using. I stored mine in clean canning jars in the fridge. It made about 2 1/2 cups of caramel.
This was so so SO good. The top was delightfully crispy while the inside of the bread pudding was ridiculously creamy. The walnuts gave a nice crunchy contrast and you can’t go wrong with melted chocolate chips and a good healthy dousing of salted bourbon caramel. Eating this is ALMOST as good as being in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras (ok, it’s totally not but let’s pretend that it is! I’ll take what I can get).
Need further inspiration for your own Mardi Gras celebration? Look no further than this amazing list!
Cocktails & Other Beverages:
- The Hurricane Cocktail Recipe from An Appealing Plan
- The French 75 from Kimchi MOM
- Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Fried Oysters and Remoulade from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Shrimp in Mustard Sauce from Noshing With The Nolands
- Mini Sweet Potato Pies from MealDiva
- Cajun Crab Beignets from Delaware Girl Eats
- Pancetta and Mushroom Arancini from Ruffles & Truffles
- Creole Shrimp Po Boy Recipe from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from Supper for a Steal
- Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya from Yours And Mind Are Ours
- Vegan Pizza Waffles from Killer Bunnies, Inc.
- Red Beans and Rice from Cookin’ Mimi
- Baked Catfish Po’Boy from Curious Cuisiniere
- Muffaletta from Casa de Crews
- Bayou Seafood and Andouille Jambalaya from The Weekend Gourmet
- Seafood Gumbo from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Cajun Rice and Beans from Momma’s Meals
- Creole Celery Root Bisque (with Lobster) from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Louisiana Roasted Barbecue Shrimp from Food Lust People Love
- Cajun Dirty Rice Bowls from The Dinner-Mom
- New Orleans Fried Chicken from Family Foodie
- Baked Endive and Pears in Blue Cream Sauce from Shockingly Delicious
- Okra Creole from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Banana Creme Pie with Honey Whipped Cream and Pecan Brittle from The Foodie Patootie
- Chocolate Ganache Tart from Melanie Makes
- Banana Bread Pudding from Gotta Get Baked
- Delicious Saffron Baked Beignets from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- New Orleans Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Polish Paczki from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Buttermilk Beignets from The Messy Baker
- Eggless Bread Pudding in a Jar from What Smells So Good?
- Mint Julep Bars from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Mardi Gras Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frostingfrom Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Mardi Gras Long Johns from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Mexican Chocolate Coffee Cake from La Cocina de Leslie
- Fasnetküchle from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Cheesecake Swirl Brownies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pecan and Chocolate Pralines from Desserts Required
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Clarks Condensed
- Baked Coconut Beignets from Mess Makes Food
- Ravioli dolci di Carnevale from Manu’s Menu
- Strawberry Paczki from Neighborfood
- Blackberry Fritters from girlichef
- Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake from Magnolia Days
- Flourless Chocolate Cake in a Mug with Coconut Cream from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Pecan Bars from Pies and Plots
- “Skinny Tuesday” Bananas Foster Cheesecake Parfaits from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Mocha Pear Cake from Happy Baking Days
- Skinny Baked Beignets from Daily Dish Recipes
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.