Thursday, July 18, 2013

Recipe: Banana Pudding

As I am becoming a little more familiar with my kitchen utensils, different kinds of ingredients, and all these wonderful food blogs out there, I am starting to make a lot of things from scratch that I wouldn't have attempted only a few months ago. 

When I first posted a recipe on here (even my parents now love the hot chocolate mug cake) I mentioned how I had never felt comfortable in the kitchen. Who would have thought that I'd now have late night baking sessions in my tiny studio-apartment to reward myself for finishing school work? I seriously spend hours mixing cake batter, kneading dough, shaping cookies and pie crust, watching bread rise, decorating the end product and sharing it with friends. And I love it!

This banana pudding is one of my absolute favorites. It is the dessert I have gotten most praise for, and also the only one I have made repeatedly because it's just so addictive. I like to compare it to a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream: Perfect for savoring as you watch a girly TV show; cold and creamy and with big fat chunks in it. With the small difference that you know exactly what ingredients were used. It's been made with love on your own stovetop!

First: Please please please go and watch the video for this recipe on youtube. The guy who walks you through the steps is hilarious and entertaining, and you will have fun watching him do his thing even if you're not actually going to make the pudding. I, however, followed his instructions meticulously (apart from using a little less sugar and omitting the whipped cream on top) and ended up with a dessert I would have liked to bathe in. In Germany we say that we could "sit" in something if it's really amazing. I hope you know what I mean...

If you are not exactly planning to go overboard or cook for a large family, you will only need half the ingredients mentioned in the video. The following measurements are for 3-4 portions:

- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 oz evaporated milk
- 1 tbsp flour, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-4 ripe bananas
- vanilla wafers
- whipped cream (optional)

Start by melting the butter in a large pan over medium heat. 
Once melted, add sugar and stir until combined. Lower the heat and slowly stir in the evaporated milk. 
Add the flour and water mixture. The pudding will start to thicken. When that happens, add your vanilla extract.
Temper the egg yolks in a small bowl by mixing in a few spoons of the hot pudding mixture. They can then go into the pan. 
I now turn the heat as low as possible and continue to stir occasionally. - Watch that pudding if you don't want an ugly skin to form!

Slice the bananas. 
Prepare a casserole dish or big bowl: Start with a layer of vanilla wafers at the bottom, followed by a layer of banana slices, followed by another layer of vanilla wafers and so on and so forth.
Then, take the pudding off the heat and pour it into the dish or bowl, making sure it covers all of your wafers and banana slices. Let it seep through the layers and into the holes and corners.

You can choose to either top it with whipped cream for that extra calorie-kick (and I guess it would also look a little nicer), or put it in the fridge as it is. I usually cover the dish with some plastic wrap and leave it in there for at least 2 hours, as the pudding becomes even thicker and gooey-er in the meantime. 

I promise: This will make your day, if not even your entire week. Enjoy.

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