Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From-Scratch, Homemade Southern Banana Pudding with Shortbread Cookie Crumbles, Creamy Roasted Banana-Vanilla Bean Pudding, Whipped Cream, Sliced Banana, & Toasted Marshmallow Meringue

Homemade Southern Banana Pudding (all from scratch)
As a southerner, banana pudding has a big spot in my heart. It is by far one of my favorite desserts, and always a go-to recipe for any meal. I mean, we plan on serving banana pudding at out wedding, y'all. Not like that's even close to happening, but still it will be there. How can you not love banana pudding? The cookies, creamy vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and fresh bananas... that's just a winning combination. I have a recipe that I usually make because it is easy and always delicious. But, for a while now, I have been wanting to tackle a homemade recipe, each component, all from scratch. And, I know that this sounds quite the feat, but I wanted to do it... I had to do it. So I did. First, I started off with the cookie component. I have never liked Vanilla Wafers, I'm sorry they just aren't my cup of tea. I decided I wanted to make classic shortbread cookies because they are just buttery-deliciousness. And instead of leaving them whole, I crumbled them up so that they would be evenly distributed throughout the pudding. And the cookies are my absolutely favorite part of the whole dessert, so I want A LOT. They are the best the day after you layer them in because they get soft and soak up all that pudding amazingness. Next, I made a luscious, creamy roasted banana-vanilla bean pudding. I started off by making a class vanilla bean pudding. I made this a lot thicker than a pudding that you would ever want to eat because I added in cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and roasted bananas, and all of these additions thinned it out quite a bit. So don't be alarmed if it seems disgustingly thick. It will get there, just trust me on this one. I think what makes this pudding unique is the addition of the roasted bananas. It brings another level of banana goodness to the dessert. Because not only do you have sliced bananas throughout, but it's incorporated into the pudding as well. Also, I made a homemade whipped cream to layer in between all of the other components. You could easily buy store-bought whipped cream, but that's not the point of this recipe, we're doing it all from scratch, people! The last and final component is the toasted marshmallow meringue topping. Holy moly, I love meringue. And I love marshmallow even more, so when you combine these together and top the banana pudding with it, it's even better. Not to even mention that it is toasted until golden brown & delicious, just like a toasted marshmallow. OMG, yum. Just talking about this dessert is making me salivate. Lemme go grab a mason jar from the fridge real quick... okay, I'm back. So, now that I have discussed each component in ridiculous detail, all you have to do is layer this bad boy up into a serving dish (or individual mason jars) and dig in. I seriously love this recipe, and I don't even care that it is crazy-involved. The end result is totes worth it!! Enjoy :)

Here's the Toasted Marshmallow Meringue Topping
Look at those beautifully browned tips 
An individual serving of Southern Banana Pudding in a mason jar
Layers of Shortbread Cookies, Banana Slices, Creamy Roasted-Vanilla Bean Pudding, & Whipped Cream 
Diggin' in
Oh man, this is so good.
Here's all of it in a big ole' bowl...
It's so good, that even dogs like it!
For the Homemade Shortbread Cookies:
3 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1C Sugar
1t Vanilla
3 ½C AP Flour
¼t Salt
 
For the Creamy Roasted Banana-Vanilla Bean Pudding:
3-4 Large Roasted Bananas, Mashed & Cooled
2 2/3C Whole Milk, Divided
½C Sugar
½C Cornstarch
¼t Salt (heaping)
1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped for Seeds
1 Large Egg
1t Vanilla
8oz Package of Cream Cheese, Softened
14oz Can of Sweetened, Condensed Milk

For the Whipped Cream:
2C Heavy Cream, Chilled
2t Vanilla
2T Confectioners’ Sugar
Pinch of Salt

For the Toasted Marshmallow Meringue Topping:
3 Egg Whites
¼t Cream of Tartar
Pinch of Salt
7oz Marshmallow Crème

For the Southern Layered Banana Pudding:
Homemade Shortbread Cookies, Crumbled
Prepared Creamy Roasted Banana-Vanilla Bean Pudding, Chilled
3 Fresh Large Bananas, Cut into Slices
Homemade Whipped Cream, Chilled
Prepared Marshmallow Meringue Topping, Toasted with a Kitchen Torch

Directions:
1. For the Homemade Shortbread Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350. Then in an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla, then sift together the flour and salt and mix this into the butter. Beat until it just comes together, then pat the dough into a disc and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. After the dough has chilled, roll it out and using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into square cookies (or use a pizza cutter to cut into squares). Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cookies completely cool before layering them into the banana pudding. Once the cookies have cooled, crumble them into bite size pieces and set aside.
2. Roasting the Bananas: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bananas on a sheet tray that is covered with parchment paper. Bake the bananas for 20 minutes, and then flip over the bananas, and roast for another 20 minutes or until the skins are dark brown and the inside is soft. Let the roasted bananas cool, and then carefully peel them and place them into a bowl. Mash with a fork until somewhat smooth, but still some chunks remain. Put the mashed bananas into a fine mesh strainer and strain out any juice. This took about 30 minutes for me. After they have strained, put them into a mixing bowl, and then puree the mixture until as smooth as possible. Then measure out the banana puree to about one cup (that’s all that I used, and that was from exactly 4 bananas). Also, make sure the mashed, roasted bananas are completely cool before layering them into the pudding.
3. For the Creamy Roasted Banana-Vanilla Bean Pudding: Bring 2C of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean (toss the leftover vanilla bean pods in the pot with the simmering milk for an extra vanilla boost) in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3C whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, and then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time. Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully). Pour the pudding into a large mixing bowl and chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2-4 hours. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the pudding before you chill it to prevent pudding skin. Once the pudding and the roasted bananas have chilled, remove the pudding from the refrigerator. In a small mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and sweetened, condensed milk until smooth. Add this mixture into the chilled vanilla bean pudding, mixing until incorporated. Next, fold in the 1C of pureed, roasted bananas until they are mixed throughout (make sure they are room temperature or chilled). Return the finished pudding to the refrigerator to chill and set for another hour while you gather and make the remaining components.
4. For the Homemade Whipped Cream: In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in the vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form. Make sure to beat the cream slightly thicker than usual. Make sure the whipped cream is chilled until ready to use.
5. Assembling the Layered Southern Banana Pudding: Layer a third of the homemade shortbread cookies into the bottom of a large serving bowl or trifle dish. Spread the slices of 1 fresh banana in an even layer on top of the shortbread cookie layer. Top the bananas with a third of the chilled creamy roasted banana-vanilla bean pudding. Spoon a half of the homemade whipped cream (a half of the half batch, so technically a fourth of the total batch) on top of the pudding layer. Repeat the layering procedure twice. Cover the pudding and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to set. The process should go cookies, banana slices, pudding, and whipped cream. You should have 3 cookie layers, 3 banana layers, 3 pudding layers, 2 whipped cream layers, and 1 marshmallow meringue topping. Do not do the marshmallow meringue topping until you are ready to serve.
6. For the Marshmallow Meringue Topping: After the pudding has chilled for a few hours, beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a standing mixer, at a high speed. Beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add marshmallow crème in small portions, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.  Spread or pipe the meringue over the top of the pudding in an even layer, making sure to seal edges completely (you can be as creative or rustic as you like with this layer, depending on your style). Broil the top of the marshmallow meringue with a kitchen torch until it reaches a golden brown & toasted marshmallow look (do not let it burn). 
7. Scoop into bowls and serve the pudding chilled. Enjoy immediately!

2 comments:

  1. Love our pics. We have a Yorkie that looks much like this sweet dog. Too cute. The dessert looks terrific. Come and visit us. We have some wonderful recipes this week.

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  2. Haha thank you, she is certainly a hot mess. But, we love her. And actually, she's not a Yorkie, but a Chorkie (half chihuahua half yorkie), but she looks like all Yorkie and acts all like a Chihuahua, it's hilarious! Thanks for the nice comments, I will definitely check out y'alls recipes!

    XOXO,
    Juliana

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