Novice Kitchen: We have become… Banananimal

photoOver the weekend, I had an incredible craving for banana cream pudding. It’s possibly the best pudding ever in the world, especially when it’s homemade. What’s better than banana pudding tossed with ‘Nilla wafers and sliced banana, and topped with whipped cream? Hardly anything? That’s right.

This craving was troublesome, since pudding as I know it here is something completely different: it’s a cake.

a Christmas plum pudding. Note the not-pudding like texture. of the pudding. (source)

So, no aisles full of instant pudding boxes in the grocery store. Strike out. Resume desert-induced depression.

What in the name of Bill Cosby do I do?

But then, Cosby-devined intervention came through: “I could make some. Like home made banana pudding.” Granted, the closest I’ve ever come to home-made banana pudding is throwing 2 cups of milk into a bowl with Banana flavored Jell-o pudding, letting it chill, slicing bananas, dousing it with Reddi-Whip, and eating the entire bowl. I started looking up recipes for ‘from-scratch’ banana pudding, but they were super Southern and filled with scary terms like “corn starch” and “double boiling” and “separated egg whites.” To complicate matters further, I couldn’t find ‘Nilla wafers, or even plain vanilla cookies in our store. Double farts.

I decided not to let it get me down, though. The two cookbooks I have with me from the states didn’t have a recipe I could use, but the internet is dark and full of terrors a lovely treasure box of food noms. And lo and behold, I came across The Baker Chick’s recipe for Homemade Banana Pudding. It looked easy enough to follow, and I was pretty sure I could find all the ingredients, or their Australian equivalent. I wasn’t excited about the 10 minutes of constant whisking, but it sounded easier than double boiling (which I’ve only tried once and it ended terribly). I’ll admit, at first I read the recipe because I liked the look of her site, but, I was sold on how her banana pudding looked closest to mid-west Banana pudding I’m used to eating (did you know that Southern people eat it hot, right off the stove? ew.)

So, yesterday, on a cold, cloudy day, I got to makin’ puddin’.

All you need. I substituted short bread biscuits for my longingly absent 'Nilla wafers.
All you need. I substituted short bread biscuits for my longingly absent ‘Nilla wafers.
Cue me standing in the grocery aisle Googling "what other names does corn starch have?" "is icing sugar the same as powdered sugar?" living abroad, bitches.
Cue me standing in the grocery aisle Googling “what other names does corn starch have?” “is icing sugar the same as powdered sugar?” #livingabroad, bitches.
Um, I also haven't figured out the metric to imperial conversions. When an American recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of butter, and Australian butter is served in 50g units, how many grams do you need? Answer, 3 and a guess. Maybe. I hate math.
Um, I also haven’t figured out the metric to imperial conversions. When an American recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of butter, and Australian butter is served in 50g units, how many grams do you need? Answer, 3 and a guess. Maybe. I hate math.
So, mix all the solids and the milk and the vanilla and the egg yolks and the egg together and put over medium heat. Yum?
So, mix all the solids and the milk and the vanilla and the egg yolks and the egg together and put over medium heat. Yum?
And whisk. Forever.
And whisk. Forever.
You'll whisk better if you wear your most unflattering clothing and stare at the heating pudding with an expression of pained regret. Also, fun aprons make everything better. This one belonged to my great grandmother and could be equally at home on Madmen.
You’ll whisk better if you wear your most unflattering clothing and stare at the pudding with an expression of pained regret. Also, fun aprons make everything better. This one belonged to my great grandmother and could be equally at home on Madmen’s Megan Draper. Except Megan Draper couldn’t pull off this sexy ensemble.
"Hey! I love carpal tunnel!"
“Hey! I love carpal tunnel!”
14 minutes in, the pudding still wasn't thickening, so I let Joel have a turn. /strategy
14 minutes in, the pudding still wasn’t thickening, so I let Joel have a turn. /strategy
He must have had a magic touch, because it thickened immediately after he stopped whisking.
He must have had a magic touch, because it thickened immediately after he stopped whisking.
Add dat butter.
Once thick and bubbly, Paula Deen that shit.
Cool dat pudding. I left mine in the fridge for about 40 mins.
As soon as the butter melts, and the lumps are stirred out, cool it. I left mine in the fridge for about 40 mins.
Set up! Banana pudding is the best excuse to get rid of your old bananas.
Set up! Banana pudding is the best excuse to get rid of your old bananas.
I made a layer of short bread wafers, and then 2 sliced bananas.
I made a layer of short bread wafers, and then 2 sliced bananas.
next, a layer of pudding and more bananas
next, a layer of pudding and more bananas
And then a layer of crushed up shortbread cookies
And then a layer of crushed up shortbread cookies
Get inside of me.
Get inside of me.
Next, wait 5-6 painstaking hours for it to settle. I think the longer pudding sets in the fridge, the better it is.
Next, wait 5-6 painstaking hours for it to settle. I think the longer pudding sets in the fridge, the better it is.
I tried to make whipped cream, and I learned that thickened cream is not the same as whipping cream. This is after 8 minutes of whisking. I also learned that cream + sugar = delicious cream sugar soup. And my stomach hurt for about 2 hours because I have no self control.
I tried to make whipped cream, and I learned that thickened cream is not the same as whipping cream. This is after 8 minutes of whisking. I also learned that cream + sugar = delicious cream sugar soup. And my stomach hurt for about 2 hours because I have no self control. Spoon left for shame evidence.
5 hours later, we had pudding!
5 hours later, we had pudding! The lighting here makes this look like egg salad, but I assure you: this is not egg salad. It is the most perfect pudding I’ve ever made.
Pudding in tea cups, aw yiss.
Pudding in tea cups, aw yiss.
Joel's first American pudding experience. It was a grand success. This is the "stop taking my picture and let me eat this pudding" face.
A man with a mouth full of pudding: Joel’s first American pudding experience. This is the “stop taking my picture and let me eat this pudding” face.

This pudding was incredible, even without whipped topping. Homemade whipped cream would have been amazing, though. Ah, well. The search continues for whipping cream!

In the mean time, I have one of my most favorite comfort foods ever waiting for me in the fridge.

DSCF0562

Time to eat!

Homemade Banana Pudding adapted from The Baker Chick.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 cups whole milk (don’t substitute for anything else, or it won’t be as rich)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large (ripe) bananas, sliced thinly
  • 1 batch of homemade vanilla wafers* (or 10 oz. of store bought ones.) (or shortbread wafers.)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (not thickened cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

    1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, egg, egg yolk, whole milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk together until combined, then continue whisking constantly for about 10 minutes, until the pudding thickens and starts to bubble.
    2. Add in the butter, remove from the heat, and whisk until completely melted. If there are any lumps, pour the pudding through a mesh sieve into a separate bowl. Allow pudding to sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, until cool to the touch.
To assemble
  1. First, place a layer of bananas in the bottom of a round 9 inch bowl (or something of similar size), then a layer of vanilla wafers (it doesn’t have to be perfect, because when you scoop up the pudding to serve, everything gets served together), then a layer of pudding.
  2. Repeat this banana, wafer, pudding layering until the last layer is pudding. Place in the fridge for 5-6 hours, covered in tin foil or plastic wrap. (I chilled mine overnight and in the morning it tasted perfect!)
  3. When the pudding is ready, Put your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 5/10 minutes or until very cold. Then, whip together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until peaks form, about 5 minutes at the most.
  4. Top the pudding with the whipped cream, then sprinkle some crushed wafers over the top of the pudding. Keeps well in the fridge for 3 days. Serves 8.

*fun fact – American style pudding is actually custard, which The New Food Lover’s Companion defines as a dessert made with a sweetened mixture of milk and eggs that can be either baked or stirred using gentle heat. I always thought custard was a gross kind of ice cream. And now I know better.

6 thoughts on “Novice Kitchen: We have become… Banananimal

  1. Yummmmm! !
    It’s all Mary’s and my fault….we spoke of you while eating the best banana pudding in the world at Sticky Fingers BBQ!!! Congrats on being so super resourceful!!
    Milla wafers on the way!!

  2. Looks so good!! Look for double cream or heavy cream, I thinks that’s the substitute for whipping cream 🙂

  3. My first terrible thought for today: the packaging for Australian Icing Sugar makes it look like a pack of pads. #sorryyessorry

    BUT OH MY GOD THAT PUDDING LOOKS AMAZING!

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