In my opinion, banana pudding falls into the same category as lemon icebox pie. Both are quintessential southern desserts that always made an appearance at covered dish suppers and church socials in Aberdeen, Mississippi. Generous southern cooks often made banana pudding to bring to the family of a recently departed soul. You could always find a strip of tape on the bottom of the dish containing their name as a gentle reminder to return the dish!
I’ve been pondering banana pudding all summer long and finally came up with an interesting version that maintained some of the classic elements of this dessert. If you’re not familiar with banana pudding, it is simply layers of Vanilla Wafer cookies, sliced bananas, and vanilla pudding, topped with either meringue or whipped cream. Several cookie companies make Vanilla Wafers and they can be found in any supermarket.
I recently posted an apple and fennel salad served in a Parmesan cheese bowl. Since then, I’ve become enamoured with the edible bowl concept so I created a Vanilla Wafer cup for this post. I attempted a couple of batches before I mastered the bowls, so you may want to double the recipe and give yourself some wiggle room to perfect the technique.
The recipe makes eight cups and the batter spreads as it cooks so make sure and give them plenty of room on two baking sheets. Use a 1/8 cup measure to divide the batter. If the batter doesn’t spread evenly, use the back of a spoon to spread into a three to four inch circle.
You’ll know they are done when the edges start to brown.
The next step must happen very quickly. You have a small window of opportunity to mold the cups before they begin to harden. You’ll want to have eight spice jars ready before removing them from the oven. Using a spatula, lift each cup and carefully flip it over the top of a spice jar. Mold the sides into waves and let them cool before removing. If the cups start hardening before you’ve finished molding them, return them to the oven for 30 seconds to a minute and they should soften again.
You can make the cups ahead of time and store them in an airtight container. Once the cups are made, assembly is simple. Place sliced bananas in the bottom of the cup, top with pudding and whipped cream and garnish with additional banana, shaved chocolate, and mint leaves.
Jim and I completely overindulged in banana pudding yesterday. We simply have to muster some willpower if I keep making desserts!
2/3 cup Vanilla Wafer crumbs (use a food processor or rolling pin to create the crumbs)
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 egg whites
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
3 bananas, sliced
Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine Vanilla Wafer crumbs, flour, and butter in a small bowl. Whisk egg whites, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in another bowl until well combined. Add Vanilla Wafer mixture to egg mixture. Mix well.
3. Spray two large baking sheets with cooking spray. Measure 1/8 cup of batter and pour on baking sheet. Repeat process with four cups on each baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches between each cup. If batter doesn't spread evenly, use a spoon and spread to about a three inch circle. They will spread when cooking.
4. Place baking sheets in oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cups are browning around the edges. Rotate baking sheets halfway through baking.
5. While cups are baking, place 8 spice jars on the counter. Remove baking sheets from oven and lift each cup with a spatula. Turn cup upside down over a spice jar and form waves in the sides of the cup. Work quickly as cups will harden. If they harden before you get them all placed on a spice jar, place them back in the oven for 30 seconds to one minute. Let the cups harden before removing them from the jars.
1. Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, and flour in a medium large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly until mixture thickens to pudding consistency.
2. Remove pan from heat and add butter and vanilla. Mix well. Place pan in a large bowl of ice to cool.
Whip heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.
1. Place four slices of banana in the bottom of each cup. Spoon pudding on top of bananas and top with whipped cream.
2. Garnish with additional banana slices, shaved chocolate, and mint leaves.