Bernana [sic] Pudding
The Misanthropic Hostess is usually a one-woman endeavor. Well, one woman and two kitchen gods. But, it was Labor Day Weekend and the first (and last) weekend all summer TD and I had two days in the same place at the same time (yes, I know Labor Day Weekend is usually three days. We got two…and were grateful for it). There was general laziness with coffee drinking and paper reading. There was some beach time and BBQ time. And, per TD’s request, there was some joint-effort bernana pudding. And by joint effort I mean, I barked-out instructions and took pictures while TD did all the hard work.
TD’s love for banana pudding is such that I knew he wouldn’t complain when asked to whisk constantly for 15 minutes until the milk-sugar-egg custard reached the appropriate tempeture.
Constant whisking is the key. A couple of years ago I attempted this recipe for a dinner party (we went Southern y’all) and no dice–the stuff didn’t set.
While TD was whisking, I checked-in with the fluffy kitchen god from his spot atop the fridge.
After the custard comes up to temp and the butter is slowly added, the mixture will be rich and thick. Don’t expect instant-pudding thick. This recipe uses a little cornstarch, not gelatin as the thickener.
Into a bowl.
Cover with a round of parchment so the pudding doesn’t develop a skin. Then into the fridge. For at least a couple of hours, but over night is best.
Now, when TD says bernana pudding, he means pudding+vanilla wafers+bananas+whipped cream. You could buy your wafers but we were feeling adventurous, so we made our own.
The dough will be incredibly sticky. Piping the cookies on to a parchment-lined baking sheet is much easier than attempting to spoon them.
They’ll spread enough to erase the…err…pile look.
As you can see form the masculine model hands above, TD was the piper. I gave him a couple of exemplars and then he went to town. Apparently we have different interpretations of size. My example is on the right. If you decide to make your own wafers, go smaller. They brown and dry-out much easier. If you happen to be the planning kind, make them a week in advance and let them get a little stale–much better texture (I found this out on accident after storing the left-overs in the pantry and forgetting about them for a week).
Now, this part is optional and to be honest, TD and I decided we liked the whole concoction sans banana-liquor. But, if you are so inclined, soak your cookies in either banana or other complimentarily-flavored alcohol of your choice.
Because of the size differential in the cookies, I chopped ours up before soaking.
While I was chopping and boozing up the wafers, TD was making the whipped cream. I forgot to warn him about not letting the cream “break.” No matter, it still tasted tasty.
You can’t have banana pudding without bananas. A bath in lemon juice will help keep them from turning brown.
This recipe can be made in a large dish, trifle style or, as we did, single-style. The composition starts in the top left and goes clockwise: a little smear of pudding to help things stick followed by a layer of cookie, a layer of bananas, another layer of pudding and topped-off with whipped cream.
The recipe will make 5-6 10 ounce individual ramekins or a regular 8X8 dish.
And that my friends, is what the end of summer tastes like.
The Roots. TD was on the ones and twos.
adapted from Alton Brown
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 45 vanilla wafers
- 4 ounces banana liqueur
- 3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
- Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch and salt in a 3-quart saucier. Add the eggs and egg yolk and whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk until well combined, about 30 seconds. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 172 to 180 degrees F, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
- The mixture will begin to thicken and bubble around the edges.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time, being sure each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Cover the surface of the pudding with a round piece of parchment and refrigerate until the pudding reaches 45 degrees F, approximately 2 hours.
- 7 ounces all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 1/2 ounces vanilla sugar
- 1 large egg
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- Position 1 oven rack in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and vanilla sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after 1 minute. Add the egg and incorporate on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl. Add the vanilla extract and milk and blend on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just to incorporate. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
- Scoop the batter into a pastry bag or large ziplock and snip and edge. Pipe out batter in silver dollar-sized disks and place them on 2 parchment paper-lined half sheet pans, approximately 20-25 cookies per pan. Use the heel of your hand to slightly flatten each ball. Bake, 2 pans at a time, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
To Construct Individual Puddings
- Lay the vanilla wafers on a half sheet pan. Slowly and evenly pour the banana liqueur over the cookies. Set aside for 10 minutes (skip this step if serving to children)
- Toss the banana slices with the lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
- Spread a small amount of pudding in the bottom of a 10 ounce glass, bowl or ramekin. Cover with a layer of vanilla wafers, followed by a layer of banana slices. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining pudding on top of the bananas and repeat, ending with a layer of pudding.
- Put the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk just until stiff peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream over the cooled pudding and spread to cover completely. Top with any remaining soaked cookies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.