the ultimate cure-all: banana pudding
whenever grace or i have a bad day, we always pick up some banana pudding on the way home. it's not a typical "drown your sorrows" food;those being chocolate, ice cream, and anything involving both chocolate and alcohol. while it's not typical, this banana pudding is perfect for drowning your sorrows- it's creamy, indulgent and due to the potassium in the bananas, actually marginally good for you. or maybe i'm just giving myself excuses to eat it.
to tell you the truth, i'd never had banana pudding before in my life until one fateful day last year at the lower east side cupcake shop "sugar sweet sunshine." i was all set to purchase a cupcake when i surprisingly changed my mind and opted for the banana pudding, which is a layered dessert of vanilla pudding, whipped cream, nilla wafers, and sliced bananas. since, i've had a variety of different banana puddings, and can honestly say that the version at sugar sweet sunshine is the best. oh. other people think this too.
now, due to my recent emphasis on budgeting, i knew that these occasional splurges, while not entirely breaking the bank, could possibly be done for less. after all, aren't bananas one of the cheaper fruits? and isn't pudding just milk and sugar? grace and i set out to recreate the beloved banana pudding in our own home. and while we were excited about the endeavor, we were certain we were going to fail.
ok, here's the good news: it is a dead ringer for the original. the same sweetness and cream, the same ratio of nilla wafers to banana to pudding to whipped cream. THE EXACT SAME PUDDING. it was miraculous. here's the bad news, or maybe better news: it makes a heck of a lot of pudding. like the largest bowl of my set of huge glass bowls. so maybe you shouldn't have it all alone. anyway, misery likes company.
banana pudding: sugar sweet sunshine style, adapted from Sweet Dreams
for whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot milk
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) box vanilla wafers
5 medium size ripe bananas, peeled and thinly sliced
whip all ingredients for whipped cream to stiff peaks. set aside until making the pudding
mix sugar, flour and salt in a large heavy saucepan. gradually stir in the hot milk with a whisk. cook the mixture over moderate heat while stirring constantly until slightly thickened. slowly stir in approximately 1/4 cup the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. next add the yolks to the balance of the hot mixture and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is fully thickened to a custard-like consistency and coats a spoon. remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. let cool completely and then fold in 1/2 cup of the whipped cream. Use a large glass bowl and spread a little of the custard on the bottom. alternately layer banana slices and vanilla wafers, reserving 4 wafers, with custard in between each. repeat and end with vanilla wafers on top. spread remaining whipped cream over the top. grind the 4 reserved wafers coarsely and sprinkle on top of the whipped cream. chill at least 30 minutes and serve.
heavy cream: $2.50
nilla wafers: $4.50
i'm going to assume you have all the others for $3
considering sugar sweet sunshine charges $5 for one cup of this, and this recipe probably makes 7 cups, i'd say this is a steal!
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