In case you missed it, I live in Honolulu, about a mile away from Waikiki beach. Yes, that was a full on humble brag. I’m poor. There’s not a lot to brag about. Being in the middle of the ocean at one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations has a few drawbacks, though. As in, everything is so so so expensive. We usually eat in which is great because I love to cook, but that can sometimes be just as pricey. Our favorite spot for a relaxed meal without a ridiculous price tag is definitely Big City Diner.
They’re open for for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though sadly, you can’t get the breakfast menu all day. They serve all the typical diner fare, but you can also get some dishes with a local twist, like fried noodles or loco moco. Their specials change weekly, so there’s always something new on the menu. And they have awesome weeknight deals to make things even cheaper.
We love the family friendly, laid back atmosphere. The service is extremely friendly and quite fast. Our favorites are the burgers, of course, (we’ll do a Burgerology post on Big City Diner in the future), but they also have a tasty grilled ham and cheese, and awesome cinnamon French toast. We visit three of their many locations on a fairly regular basis. It’s our go to restaurant in Waikiki, and we’ll definitely be telling you more about this place in the future.
This has been a rather long preamble to get me to the thing I most want to share, my island inspired bread pudding. They have a dessert like this on the menu at Big City Diner, but this is my own personal take. Bread pudding is extra awesome because you get to use up leftover bread that might otherwise be wasted. And this one is studded with pineapple and macadamia nuts and topped with a coconut rum creme anglaise. (I actually got someone drunk on this sauce once. The circumstances were bizarre indeed, and not likely to be repeated.) The warm custardy bread and the cold boozy sauce are the perfect juxtaposition. It’s so ono!
If you’re on our island, be sure and visit Big City Diner, but if you can’t get out here, and you want to create a Hawaiian vacation in your oven, give this bread pudding a try. It’s topped with liquor infused melted ice cream. What could go wrong?
Bread pudding images by Monica Szczupider
- 250 grams stale Hawaiian sweet bread, cut into cubes (a whole loaf if using King's)
- 1 small can pineapple chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
- 3 eggs
- 40 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark rum or coconut rum (use the dark rum if you have it, but don't buy it special)
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
- 500 ml (1 cup) whole milk
- Coconut rum creme anglaise (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Lightly butter a 2 quart casserole or a nine inch pie pan.
- Add your dry bread to the pan. If it's not quite stale, you can leave it out on a wire rack for a while. Mine is always just sort of stale, never truly hard. It's still awesome.
- Add the pineapple and macadamia nuts. Try and evenly disperse them around the pan. No need to stir, just let everything settle.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, rum, cream and milk. Pour this over your bread mixture and press the bread down into it to make sure everything is good and squidgy.
- Let the bread soak for 20 minutes before putting it in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until everything is puffy, lightly brown, and set.
- Let rest until it is just warm. Spoon it onto your plate and drizzle it with plenty of coconut rum creme anglaise.
- This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but I recommend reheating it slightly before serving it. The combination of warm bread pudding and cold rum sauce is awesome.
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut rum
- Add the cream, egg yolks, and powdered sugar to a small sauce pan over medium heat.
- Stir constantly for about 8-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. It will coat the back of a wooden spoon when it's ready. Do not boil.
- Stir in the rum until everything is smooth.
- Pour it through a sieve into a container, then chill in the fridge until ready to use. (You can skip the straining, but I find it catches any stray bits of overcooked egg yolk and assures your sauce is super smooth. I'm not an expert, so I can use the help.)