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Arsip Tag: vanilla
A year ago, I made what I called Bananas Foster Puddings — individual puddings in which the bananas had been lightly caramelized in butter, brown sugar and rum before being layered with vanilla custard and kind of mediocre homemade vanilla wafers before being topped with a tuft of broiled meringue. The evening I made them, I managed to spill a pint glass of water (full, I mean, of course) right next to my laptop, which led to all sorts of drama including the loss of the photos and recipe, in case you’re wondering why nobody’s going to be mistaking me for a lifestyle guru anytime soon.
I was crushed and promised a redo but for the life of me, couldn’t get enthusiastic enough about it to make them again. I chalked it up to lingering morning sickness, to the fact that maybe banana pudding wasn’t my thing, but it wasn’t until last week, when curiosity about what everyone else likes in banana pudding took me on a field trip to my old neighborhood where the bakery downstairs from my old apartment is rather beloved for theirs when I realize that the problem was me: I had attempted to upend a classic that wasn’t necessarily improved by it. Or more succinctly: It wasn’t broken so I didn’t need to fix it. Rookie mistake!
Caramelized bananas might be one of the most delicious things in the world but layered against a cold pudding and chilled, their texture fell a bit to gloop. Meringue, those ethereal piles of white plume, is wonderful on many pies, less enjoyable from the fridge a couple days later. And the best custard for the assembly — my takeaway from my crosstown excursion — is a bit on the loose side, so when those cookies begin to absorb it, the remaining pudding isn’t halfway to paste. Finally, while I’ve gotten closer to my homemade “nilla” wafer ideal this winter (in part by all but giving up on exactly replicating the bland factory-fabricated originals) I’ve found that a tiny buttery sugar cookie with two types of vanilla and a good pinch of sea salt is absolutely glorious in the pudding, standing out rather than being stuffed under.
One year ago: Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits
Two years ago: Cheese Blintz
Three years ago: Pasta and White Beans with Garlic-Rosemary Oil
Four years ago: Potato Chip Cookies
Five years ago: Mushroom and Farro Soup
Six years ago: Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions and Ricotta Muffins
Seven years ago: Smashed Chickpea Salad and Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake
Eight years ago: Key Lime Cheesecake
Nine years ago: Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
1.5 Years Ago: Three-Ingredient Summertime Salsa
2.5 Years Ago: Banana Nutella and Salted Pistachio Popsicles
3.5 Years Ago: Zucchini Bread Pancakes
4.5 Years Ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chives Popovers
Banana Pudding with Vanilla Bean Wafers
Custard adapted from Saveur, wafers from AllRecipes
I feel like I should duck some flying banana peels to say this, but this is really for the best if you start a day (or more) early. I know, I’m the worst. But the custard really needs an overnight in the fridge to set and you might as well get the cookies out of the way then too. Once assembled, you can eat it right away but I like it after settling in the fridge for a few more hours so the cookies get some give to them. Now, of course you don’t have to make your own vanilla wafers, but you will not regret these. What they lack in factory-pressed appearance, they make up for in deep vanilla flavor with a hint of saltiness that contrasts wonderfully against the sweet custard and fruit. Should you wish to use storebought cookies, the yields are similar, I got a little over 80 small cookies here and there are about 80 in the 11-ounce ‘Nilla wafer boxes. In pudding cups, I didn’t use them all.
You could also make this in one big dish, an 8×8-inch or other 2-quart dish. You’d likely use all of the cookies for this, and should make double the whipped cream for a topping.
Yield: 8 approximately 1-cup puddings
3⁄4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (35 grams) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
6 large egg yolks
3 1⁄2 cups (830 ml) milk, preferably whole
2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter, cut into a few bits
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla
1 tablespoon (15 ml) dark rum (optional, but think it has an amazing impact here)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
Seeds from 1/2 of a fresh vanilla bean
1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/3 cups (176 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 large firm-ripe bananas, thinly slices
Make the custard: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks together in the bottom of a large saucepan, ideally 4-quarts to protect against splattering as it simmers. Drizzle in milk, whisking the whole time so that no lumps form. Place over medium heat on the stove and bring up to a simmer, stirring. Once simmering, stirring, until custard thickens, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, vanilla, and rum. Let chill in fridge for several hours or overnight to finish thickening. You’ll have 4 cups custard.
Make the wafers: Heat oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine sugar and vanilla been seeds, rubbing them together so that the abrasion from the sugar granules helps release the maximum vanilla flavor. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beat to combine. Sprinkle baking powder and salt over batter, beat to combine. Add flour and once again, beat just to combine.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Using your tiniest scoop (yes, I actually have one that holds about 1 teaspoon), spoon or even a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop the dough (you can then roll it in your palms for a more perfect final round shape) and space at least 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake 10 to 11 minutes, keeping a close eye on them. You’ll want them to be nicely golden at the edges before you take them out. Let cool on racks. Yield: About 80 1 3/4-inch cookies.
Assembly: Beat heavy cream with 2 teaspoons sugar until soft peaks form. Line the bottom of 8 1-cup dishes with a wafer cookie. Add custard (you’re looking to use about 1/3 of it total right now). Top with a layer of bananas. Repeat twice with more cookies (you can break them up to get them to fit better in small cups), custard and bananas. Dollop each pudding with whipped cream; chill (I prefer to do so with lids on so the whipped cream doesn’t dry out) for a few hours and up to a few days.
Jars Are Weck Tulip Jelly Jars (which I’d bought to keep baby food organized then, predictably, co-opted). I urge everyone to buy “keep fresh covers” for Weck jars. Clamps are adorable and photogenic but definitely annoying in the long run. I order them from Weck directly and save the gaskets and clamps for future canning projects.
- 2 8.5-ounce sheets ready-rolled puffed pastry, defrosted [from a 1.1-pound (490-gram) package]
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (50 grams) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, diced
Line the base and sides of an 8×8-inch cake pan with a large sheet of foil so the excess goes up the sides. I find it can help to first mold the foil over the outside of the baking pan and then transfer it inside, for fewer tears.
Place first cooled square of pastry on a cutting board and use bottom of cake pan to cut it into a square that will fit tightly inside the pan. Repeat with second square. Place first square inside the pan; save second until needed.
Make the custard: In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, starch, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth and no pockets of sugar-starch remain before adding the second. Whisk in vanilla bean paste, and then, very gradually, whisking the whole time, pour in milk, then cream. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking the whole time. As the custard begins to bubble, it will thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until it is fully melted. If you want it extra silky-smooth, pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve before continuing but I never do.
Assemble the squares: Immediately pour the warm custard into the baking pan over the first sheet of puff pastry and spread evenly. Place the second sheet of pastry on top, pressing gently to secure in place.
Chill the squares: Wrap the pan in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the custard to fully set. Once chilled and set, use the foil to carefully lift the mixture from the tin. Dust with powdered sugar — I used some strips of paper leftover from a kid quilling project to create a decoration — then use a sharp, serrated knife to cut it into slices.
Do ahead: Stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, these will keep for a couple of days. They will keep for up to 5 days, but the pastry will soften a bit.
More notes: I took many liberties with this recipe. I re-scaled the recipe for the package size of the brand of frozen puffed pastry most of us have access to in the US, Pepperidge Farm, because I didn’t want us to have to buy two boxes. To do so, I reduced the recipe by about 1/3 to fit in an 8×8-inch pan, rounding off the parts that didn’t scale evenly. I found that rather than cutting the pastry down to size and then baking it — it was hard to predict how much it would shrink — I baked the pastry larger than needed and cut it when it came out of the oven. I have my own shortcut method of making custards/pastry creams and applied it here — no separately warmed milk/cream, so everything is made in one pot.