Happy New Year my friends, it feels way too long since we have chatted! While I am always baking, creating recipes and sharing pictures and posts of my adventures in the million and one social media sites out there, (okay, so only on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook…sorry Snapchat, I’m still trying to find time for you!), it has been a bit since I have shared a blog post with you here.
In light of this latency period, I knew that what I posted next had to be good. Like really really good. As in, this Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Good! First take a moment to imagine the best banana pudding you’ve ever had. It’s okay, take your time, I’ll wait…Now imagine how infinitely better it would be made with homemade vanilla pudding, luscious swoon-worthy salted caramel, and fresh-whipped pillowy whipped cream. Yes, it’s that good.
Now, speaking of a Happy New Year, let’s talk resolutions. I know, I know…diet, exercise and all that. Considering this is a Salted Caramel Banana Pudding post, clearly these are not the resolutions that I contemplated at the strike of midnight. Rather, I resolved to be more kind and of greater service to my fellow humankind. Last year was not the best example of humanity’s capacity to be kind for many reasons, so I propose a resolution revolution.
It’s quite simple really. Just be kind, and love one another…And perhaps if you are so inclined, bake and share that love. What I am ineloquently trying to say can be summed up in a mantra that I turn to and reflect on habitually: “Where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.” ~ Abdu’l-Bahá.
Active Time: 45 min; Chill Time: 1-2 hours.
Banana Pudding Ingredients:
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (38 grams) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (12 oz/355 ml) whole or 2% milk
1 1/2 cups (12 oz/355 ml) half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
4 ripe, but firm, bananas
1 small lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
40-50 Nilla Wafers
Salted Caramel Ingredients:
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz/59 ml) water
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (4 oz/118 ml) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (12 oz/355 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons powered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
How to Use Them:
In a medium pot, add the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.Whisk together until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.Add in the egg and egg yolks.Begin to whisk eggs and dry ingredients together.Whisk until the mixture is well combined and smooth.Whisk in the milk and half and half into egg mixture. Whisk until the mixture is well combined.Heat the pudding mixture over medium heat, and continue to whisk.After few minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken.Continue to whisk the mixture until it is thickened throughout. This will take about 6-8 minutes. Once thickened, remove the pudding from the heat and add in the vanilla.Whisk in the vanilla until it is evenly distributed throughout the pudding.Pour the pudding in a shallow baking dish.Cover with plastic wrap directly on the pudding.Chill until completely cooled, about 1-2 hours.
While the pudding is cooling make the salted caramel by adding the sugar and water in a medium pot. Gently stir until the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Do not stir from this point forward! If you see any sugar on the sides of the pain, you can brush them off with a pastry brush dipped in water. This is an important step as it keeps sugar crystals from forming and causing the entire mixture to crystallize.As the mixture begins to heat and the temperature increase, it will first turn a light caramel color.You can gently lift the pan and swirl the mixture gently periodically to allow the mixture to heat evenly, but do not stir. Allow the mixture to boil until it turns to deep amber.Be careful not to overheat. Once the mixture is a deep amber color like picture above, then remove from heat and carefully add the butter, heavy cream and salt.Be careful in this step as the mixture can boil vigorously. Return the caramel to the heat and stir for an additional 2-3 minutes.Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool.
Once the pudding has cooled, prepare the banana by slicing lengthwise into ¼ inch slices and add to a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir together.
Place the heavy cream, mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for ten minutes to ensure all are ice cold in preparation of whipping the cream. While this is not a necessary step, it does help with the whipping of the cream, especially in warmer temperatures and climates. Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and whisk on low for one minute and then gradually begin to increase speed to medium high.When the cream begins to thicken and soft peaks of whipped cream begin to take shape, Whisk on medium high until just stiffened.
ASSEMBLY OF THE SALTED CARAMEL BANANA PUDDING
Start by adding a single layer of Nilla Wafers to the bottom and sides of a 2 quart serving dish or a casserole dish. Next spread 1/3 of the vanilla pudding on top of the Nilla Wafers. Then add a single layer of banana slices.Next drizzle 1/3 of the caramel on top of the banana.Now add a layer of 1/3 of the whipped cream.Add another layer of the Nilla wafers and repeat all of the layers 2 more times.Use the last layer of the whipped cream, any remaining salted caramel, and Nilla Wafers in a decorative manner on top of the pudding like the piping in this picture.Serve immediately, or refrigerate until time to serve.
Whether it’s this Salted Caramel Banana Pudding recipe, or one of your own favorites, I do hope you bake a special dish with the intention of sharing it with people that can really use an expression of love, for no other reason but to show that you care.