This pudding is the result of two flavor ideas floating around in my head; Banana Chocolate Chili, based on an ice cream I made last summer, and Pralines and Cream, my favorite ice cream from childhood. Since I made a pudding with chocolate earlier this week, I ditched the cocoa and went for banana with a buttery rum and maple pecan profile. Make sure to serve pudding with a generous dollop of the rum whipped cream, topped with chopped maple pecans, to get crunchy maple pecan, whipped cream, and banana pudding in each bite. This would also make a terrific ice cream. —gingerroot
For the Maple Pecans
pinch of sea salt
For the Banana Pudding
very ripe bananas, thickly sliced (my bananas were frozen, so I let them thaw slightly while making the pecans and then sliced)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle maple syrup over pecans, add cinnamon and sea salt. With a spatula or wooden spoon, toss pecans to coat evenly with syrup and spices and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove pan and let pecans cool and crisp up. Evenly chop pecans and place ½ cup in a bowl and ¼ cup in an airtight container. Set aside.
For the Banana Pudding
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When butter starts to foam, add maple syrup; mixture will bubble, turn down heat and stir to combine. Slowly stir in half-and-half and allow mixture to steam. Stir in bananas and ½ cup of chopped maple pecans and turn off heat. Allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Strain out bananas and pecans by ladling mixture into a sieve set over a quart Pyrex measure (or similar sized bowl), pressing down on solids to extract as much liquid as possible (I ended up with 2 ½ cups). Discard solids (or reserve for another use – I thought it would be delicious with oatmeal).
Return banana-pecan infused liquid to saucepan and slowly heat up mixture.
Meanwhile, whisk two egg yolks in a medium sized bowl.
Temper yolks by gradually whisking in ½ cup of heated liquid. Add cornstarch, whisking to dissolve.
Whisk tempered mixture back into remaining liquid in saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir gently and continuously with a wooden spoon until a few bubbles burst to the surface, about 2-3 minutes, and cook until mixture is thick and glossy, about a minute more.
Strain pudding through sieve into a clean bowl, using wooden spoon to help push pudding through. Once strained into bowl, fold in vanilla and gently stir to combine. Cover pudding with enough plastic wrap to press on surface of mixture and refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, spoon chilled pudding into bowls or ice cream cups. Top with Rum whipped cream and reserved chopped maple pecans. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
For Rum Whipped Cream: Using a mixer, whip 1 cup of cold heavy cream in a large stainless steel bowl. When cream starts to thicken, add 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon of Myer's dark rum. Continue to whip until firm peaks form. Serve cold.
NOTE: This will make more rum whipped cream than you will need for the pudding (not necessarily a bad thing).
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.