Transform banana bread into a next-level holiday dessert. This tropical take on bread pudding brings warm Caribbean breezes to chilly winter kitchens. Raisins and dark chocolate chips all feel perfectly at home here, too.
In baking (aka kitchen chemistry), measuring ingredients accurately is essential for a flawless outcome. Level measures of dry goods with the back of a knife, and use a liquid measuring cup for all liquids.
Employ your favourite store-bought whole wheat or gluten-free banana bread for last-minute guests.
For banana bread, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line standard loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 in/23 x 13 x 6 cm) with parchment paper, leaving overhang for removal.
In large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, eggs, and sugar followed by milk and coconut oil. Using fine-mesh sieve, sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until just combined and smooth into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until toothpick or skewer inserted in centre comes out mostly clean (do not overbake). Cool for 1 hour in pan, loosen edges, remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack. Cut into large (1 in/2.5 cm) cubes.
For pudding, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). In large mixing bowl, whisk coconut milk and rum until combined. Add cubed banana bread and gently fold in until bread is coated with milk mixture. Transfer to 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) glass or ceramic baking dish and sprinkle evenly with demerara or coconut sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until dry on top and cooked through (test with knife in centre; bread should be hot but still moist). Serve warm garnished with a little flaked coconut and sliced banana.
This recipe is part of the Next-Level Holiday Baking collection.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.