Oh! I can blog more than once a week. Yes, I was going to accomplish all these things. As the end-of-the-school year countdown began, I had fantasies of making the recipes I've pinned-- greeting my husband with full make-up, a smile and a romantically set table. Didn't happen. None of it.
What was I thinking when I signed up for a summer class at our community college?! I've spent almost every day, driving to class and working on my homework. Next year, I have to rethink this strategy.
Buy "almost ripe" bananas for best results.
We did manage to make time to spend with some dear friends, who invited us for dinner, at their home. I offered to bring dessert, which was graciously accepted. I refer to Mr. "D" as our "Southern Gentleman Friend", since he's from Atlanta, Georgia.
Whenever I think of him, I think of Southern recipes. No, I wasn't born in the South. I did, however, spend a few days in Atlanta and Savannah a lifetime ago. To this day, I remember how delicious the food was. I've never had Banana Pudding (except for that boxed stuff), and I thought this would be a dessert he'd like. I searched around for recipes and I knew I wanted to make the pudding, from scratch.
Once again, I found the recipe I wanted on Cook's Illustrated's sister website, "Cook's Country" (I subscribe to them). I liked the idea of roasting the bananas, to intensify their flavor. So, I got to work that morning.
The first thing I decided was to "halve" the recipe, since it was only the four of us. I thought it was a brilliant idea to make these in my beloved Ball Canning jars. I figured they'd transport easily, and would make a perfect serving size. NOTE TO SELF: I'm not the only person who had this idea... a google search came up with oodles of pudding in a jar...but many, with that fake cream stuff and boxed pudding.
While the bananas were roasting, I made the pudding. Four egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch are whisked together.
Off heat, I added pure vanilla and unsalted butter to the pudding. The roasted bananas had cooled enough to peel.
The final step was to slice fresh bananas and gently coat it with more lemon juice. Ambitious that I can be, I had wanted to make homemade vanilla wafers. Please refer to my opening paragraph... time was running out. So was my energy. So, I used boxed vanilla wafers. I layered a few wafers on the bottom of each jar, then pudding...
Oh. I had a little bit more pudding left, so I filled a 16 ounce jar with pudding, and plenty of wafers..and, whipped cream. This would become the "extra" left in our own fridge.
My son was still home, getting ready for work. I know he's always willing to be my taste tester.
TASTING NOTES: I can see why banana pudding is so beloved, in the South. The texture of the pudding was creamy and velvety. The flavor had just the right balance of banana, without that artificial flavor. Yes! I liked the way the wafers had softened. My first thought that this was reminiscent of banana cream pie. Like a good mom, I brought the remaining jar to my son, who tasted it. He's brutally honest, and said it was "outstanding". He asked if there was more. Yes, one more jar. The rest left with us to our hosts. As for our Southern Gentlman-- I heard him reminding his wife to get the recipe. He says it was "like home". That's the best compliment I could ask for.
This is the photo from Cook's Country. I think this is also a stunning presentation, but is a lot of pudding! I'd make this for a dinner party of 8, more people!
Photo credit: Cook's Country
A printable recipe card is at the end of this post. You'll want to double the ingredients, if you'd like to make Cook's Country's presentation.
The Grand Finale, of my summer break is that tomorrow, my husband and I are flying off to British Columbia. We'll be splitting on Vancouver Island, and in Vancouver. It's been decades since I've visited Vancouver and Victoria will be our first. Now-- let the real vacation begin! (Then I return to work two days later.)