Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Best Ever 'Nana Pudding or Banana Cream Pie with Almond Coconut Crust

My son, Gabe, is a 'Nana Puddin' gourmet, always in search of pudding perfection. He declares this recipe the BEST. I've worked a long time on perfecting the recipe so that it is just right-but-not-too-sweet, and fail proof. No reason to make pudding from a box, or try to hide the boxed taste by adding cream cheese, Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk-- which boggles the mind and taste buds.

Using both brown & white sugar adds a smooth subtle caramel tone, and because with this method you don't have to temper the eggs, I've never issues with floating "egg bits" or flour lumps.

I've also included a recipe for a wonderful crunchy pie crust made with graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds if you prefer to make a banana cream pie instead of a pudding. My sister Rachel is a huge banana cream pie fan so I created this recipe for her, which provoked an eyes rolled to heaven response upon taking the first bite.

Vanilla-Scotch Cream Filling

3 cups whole milk
1/3 c. white sugar and 1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
(may use up to 1/2 t. if you are using it in pudding... the pie shell, however has enough saltiness from the butter that you want to err on the side of less salt if using this as pie filling)
3 large egg yolks, well beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

With a wire whisk (use a heatproof rubber coated whisk if you are using nonstick pots)-- stir together all the dry ingredients in the bottom of a large sauce or soup pan.

In a separate large bowl, beat egg yolks well and slowly add milk , whisking, until there are no little “egg bits” and it’s one creamy mixture.

Slowly whisk the milk/egg mixture into the dry ingredients over a medium high heat, stirring constantly. It will take a while, but when the mixture begins to bubble and boil, count sloooowly to 60 because you want to make sure it boils the full minute. (If it looks like it is going to boil over, turn down the heat a bit.) Remove from heat and stir in 2 T. of butter and 1 t. vanilla.

For Pudding: Layer cooled pudding with Nabisco brand vanilla wafers and about 3-4 sliced bananas, ending with wafers and topping with whipping cream just before serving. Gabe prefers his pudding cold, served within an hour so the wafers aren't too soggy, waiting to top with fresh vanilla wafers just before serving so you also get a nice crunch.

Whipped Cream

Whip a small container of whipping cream. (Or however much you want.. a cup of whipping cream makes plenty for one pie.) Slowly whip in a few Tablespoons of powdered sugar – to taste - and 1 t. vanilla. (I like regular whipping cream much better than heavy whipping cream and using powdered sugar instead of sugar to sweeten as helps it stay “whipped” in a Tupperware in the fridge for several days.)

Banana Cream Pie with Almond-Coconut Crust

(Follow directions above for pudding, let pudding cool and slice in 3 bananas or as many as you like. Pour into pie shell below and top with whipped cream. Best served within an hour after filling is in the shell. You can also refrigerate the filling (without bananas) make the crust ahead of time and assemble the pie 30 minutes to one hour before serving. )

½ stick salted butter, melted

¼ c. almond slivers

1 c. graham cracker crumbs – (store bought, in baking aisle)

¼ c. finely grated, preferably unsweetened, coconut

Mix melted butter with graham cracker crumbs. Pat into a pie pan. Sprinkle almond slivers on bottom of pie crust. Bake at 350 about 5 minutes to let it harden and to toast the almonds.

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