Stollen Bread Pudding with Chocolate Chunks and Caramelized
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or scraped seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 (48-ounce) loaf German stollen, stale, cut into crouton-sized cubes
1 (3 1/2-ounce) bar dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons pear brandy
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 2-quart baking pan with oil, and set pan into a larger pan. Add water to the larger pan, preparing a water bath in which the pudding will bake.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Whisk in milk, cream and vanilla. Transfer 1 cup of this custard mixture to a saucepan and set aside.
Add stollen and chocolate to remaining custard mixture in the large bowl; stir well. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake 1 1/4 hours to to 1 3/4 hours, until puffed and firm in the center.
Meanwhile, add pear brandy to reserved custard mixture and heat on medium-low, whisking constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. (Be careful not to turn the heat too high or stop whisking, as the eggs might scramble.)
Remove pudding from oven and cool before slicing. Meanwhile, prepare Caramelized Bananas. To serve, place a few warm banana slices on each plate, top with a square of warm bread pudding and drizzle with warm custard sauce.
For Caramelized Bananas:
Slice 4 medium bananas. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet until melted. Turn heat to medium and stir in 3 tablespoons sugar. Add banana slices and cook until brown; turn with a spatula and cook again until brown. Remove from heat and serve.