Banana Cream with Crunchy Toffee
Down-home banana pudding is one of the things many of us crave. Alas, when we find one on a menu or at a bakery we are inevitably disappointed either by the cloying texture of starch-thickened custard or by the artificial banana flavoring, of which there are many. The solution? If you really want good banana pudding, make it yourself.
At Chanterelle, I use this custard to fill tiny cream puffs, served as an after-dinner treat; sometimes banana cream serves as the filling for a mini petit four tart. But, most of all, it’s comforting and delicious.
Storage: The banana cream will keep, refrigerated, for 2 days.
4 cups, serves 6 to 8
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party
Taste and Texturecreamy, fruity, sweet
Type of Dishdessert, pudding
- 2 large or 3 small ripe bananas (14 ounces)
- 1 vanilla bean
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 7 tablespoons (3½ ounces) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup cream
- ½ recipe of Almond Toffee, ground in a food processor
- 6 to 8 parfait cups or decorative serving dishes (optional)
- Fine-mesh strainer
Steep the banana in milk:
Slice the bananas into ½-inch cross sections. Run a paring knife down the center of the vanilla bean. Split it open with your fingers and use the knife to scrape out the tiny black seeds into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the vanilla pod, half the sugar, milk, and bananas to the saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow the bananas and the vanilla to steep 10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, egg, and remaining sugar, malt syrup if you’re using it, and salt and briskly whisk for 2 minutes. Add the flour and the cornstarch, whisking briskly and continuously until the mixture is smooth and no signs of the flour remain.
Using a ladle, slowly whisk some of the hot liquid into the egg mixture to warm it. Gradually pour the warmed egg mixture into the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.
Cook the custard:
Cook the custard over medium heat, whisking vigorously and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan every 10 strokes of the whisk. The custard will thicken significantly. Once bubbles rise to the top of the custard, cook for 30 seconds longer and remove from the heat. Pass the custard through a line-mesh strainer into a stainless-steel bowl. Rinse and dry the vanilla bean and save it for another use. Allow the custard to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the heat to escape. Whisk in the butter, transfer to the refrigerator, and chill for 30 minutes.
Lighten the custard with cream:
In a chilled stainless-steel bowl, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Scrape the whipped cream into the bowl with the banana custard. Fold the two mixtures together: place the spatula in the center of the bowl, scrape the bottom, and bring the bottom over the top. Rotate the bowl 45 degrees and continue folding until the cream is fully incorporated.
At this point you can portion this banana cream into parfait glasses or bowls or you can chill it in a quart container.
Serve this banana cream with crunchy toffee sprinkled on top. You can also use this as a cream topping for the Chocolate Bête Noire or the Chocolate Caramel Tart.
Banana Cream Pie: Make the Chocolate Crumb Crust and fill the baked crust with the banana cream. Top off the pie with 1½ cups of whipped cream and a sprinkling of Almond Toffee.
2006 Kate Zuckerman