Saturday, May 11, 2013

Banana Pudding

So I did that thing again, where I obsess for weeks over making home made (fill in the blank) for no good reason at all other than I just want to, even though I could buy a mix or a cup or a jar of (fill in the blank) for less. This time it was banana pudding. I blame the cookbook I borrowed from the library back in the darkest, coldest days of Winter. It was full of things that sounded delicious, and banana pudding stood out for some reason. Now that the sun is shining and warm breezes are blowing through the kitchen on the weekend, it felt like a good time to finally conquer banana pudding.

The last few weeks have been hectic so I haven't cooked or baked all that much. As usual I didn't realize how much I missed being in the kitchen until I was working on this pudding. Not everyone in our household is a pudding fan. David, Patrick and I quite liked this as our Sunday dessert but Daniel just isn't convinced by pudding. No matter what the flavour. I quite liked the addition of the crushed cookie topping; I might have kept adding it until my pudding cup was scraped clean.

Banana Pudding (from Epicurious)

For the pudding:
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons banana liqueur (or 1 teaspoon banana flavoring)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ripe bananas

For the crumble:
  • 1 cup vanilla wafers (about 15 cookies)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

To make the pudding:
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk a little at a time into the egg mixture. Once the bottom of the bowl is warm, slowly whisk in the remaining hot milk. Pour the mixture back into a clean medium saucepan (cleaning the saucepan prevents the pudding from scorching), add the banana liqueur, and whisk over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Cook while constantly whisking until the pudding is glossy and quite thick, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the pudding to a clean bowl.
Add the vanilla and butter and gently whisk until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

To make the crumble:
While the pudding sets, heat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place the wafers in a resealable plastic bag and seal (make sure there is no air in the bag prior to sealing). Using a rolling pin or a flat-bottomed saucepan or pot, crush the vanilla wafers until they're coarsely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl and stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a spoon to evenly stir in the melted butter, transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and toast in the oven until brown and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature or frozen for up to 2 months; re-crisp in a 325°F oven for 6 to 7 minutes if necessary.)

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