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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafer Crumble

I purchased DamnGoodSweet by David Guas around Mardi Gras time. I had good intentions of making a King Cake and this book was getting really good reviews. David shares some great stories about growing up in New Orleans and I really enjoyed "reading" this cookbook. New Orleans has never been high on my places to visit, but the book has definitely made me add it to my list. The problem is that I never made the King Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Buttermilk Beignets, or the Coconut Cream Pie. Why? Because I made the Banana Pudding first and now every time I open the book I want Banana Pudding.
Somehow I managed to get through an entire Midwestern childhood without ever being exposed to Banana Pudding from a box with a layer of Nilla Wafers and Cool Whip topping. Thank goodness there were some Midwestern culinary disasters I was spared. It wasn't until college that I first tasted it and I must say I wasn't too impressed. I hesitated to even make the topping for this recipe as I thought the addition of sugar to Nilla Wafers would make them just too DamnSweet. Turns out that is my favorite part of the whole thing, it was DamnGoodSweet after all!

Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafer Crumble
adapted slightly from DamnGoodSweet by David Guas

For the Pudding
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons banana liqueur or 2 tsp.banana flavoring
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Crumble
1 cup vanilla wafer cookies (about 15), coarsely crushed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
2 bananas, sliced

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch, the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Gradually whisk the milk into the egg yolks until smooth. Transfer the pudding mixture to the saucepan and add the banana liqueur or flavoring. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, until the pudding is thick, about 3 minutes. Scrape the pudding into a bowl and whisk in the cold butter and vanilla. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. Press the plastic wrap into the pudding if you don't want a skin to form.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the wafers, cinnamon, the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir in the melted butter. Spread the crumble on the prepared baking sheet; bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool.
Spoon the chopped bananas into bowls. Top with the pudding, sprinkle with the crumble and serve right away.

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