1 1/2cupunsweetened almond milkvanilla or plain (or other non-dairy milk)
1cupmashed overripe bananas
1/4cupdark brown sugar
2teaspoonscornstarch or potato starch
1/2cupapple cider or apple juice
1teaspooncornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon apple juice
1 1/2 - 2tablespoonsbrandy, rum, or bourbon(see Notes below)
1/4cupchopped pecans or walnutsoptional
Cut or tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. If the bread seems moist or dense, spread it out on a cookie sheet and toast it for a few minutes in the oven. Place it in a large bowl and add the raisins.
Put the non-dairy milk into the blender along with the banana, maple syrup, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, baking powder, and spices. Blend until smooth. Pour it over the bread, using a silicone spatula to get out every drop. Stir well to completely coat all of the bread. Set aside to soak for a few minutes while you ready the pan and preheat the oven.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper or oil lightly. Pour the bread pudding into the pan in an even layer. Bake for about 45 minutes or until top is set and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
While the pudding is cooling, make the sauce. Place the apple cider and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring often, until reduced to about half. Carefully add the cornstarch mixture and stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook for another couple of minutes, until mixture is no longer cloudy. Remove from heat and add the brandy or other spirits a little at a time, to taste. Stir in the nuts. Poke a few holes in the top of the bread pudding with a toothpick, and pour the sauce over the top, distributing nuts evenly. Cut into squares and serve warm.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, try substituting a half teaspoon of rum extract.