For the pudding:
2 tbsp. butter
4 ripe bananas, peeled, halved crosswise and then lengthwise
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 cups whipping cream
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. firm white bread sliced, crusts trimmed, each slice cut into 3 strips (i used cinnamon swirl bread)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
For the sauce:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add bananas and 2 tablespoons sugar and cook until bananas are tender, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Combine whipping cream, eggs, vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 9x13-inch loaf pan. Arrange 1/3 of bread strips crosswise in bottom of prepared pan. Arrange 6 banana pieces atop bread. Arrange 1/3 of bread strips crosswise atop bananas. Pour half of egg mixture over. Arrange remaining banana pieces atop bread. Arrange remaining bread strips crosswise atop bananas. Pour remaining egg mixture over. Press gently on top layer to compact. Let stand 15 minutes.
Bake bread pudding until puffed and golden and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make caramel sauce. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cream, sugar and salt. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.