Recipes

Not Your Grandma's Banana Pudding

Kristin Eddy

Millwrights, Simsbury, CT

"I created this dessert because I love food that has a familiarity and sparks a memory. This dish is my spin on what we all probably remember growing up with: instant vanilla pudding layered with Nilla Wafers and sliced bananas. This was my after-school snack at my grandparents’ house and the best kept secret from my parents: dessert before dinner!"—Kristin Eddy

Note: the dish as shown above was served at Kristin's Beard House dinner, but she has adapted it specifically for the home cook, to be layered in mason jars. 

Ingredients

Pudding:
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 cups milk, divided
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Rich Chocolate Sauce:
3 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (such as Valrhona 70% cocoa)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pretzel Crumbs:
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
1 1/4 cup powdered milk 
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup malted milk powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

To serve:
5 to 6 ripe bananas, sliced just before assembly

Method

Make the pudding: in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and 1 cup milk. Set aside. In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 cups milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and salt. Bring to a simmer, making sure to stir occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk half of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs to temper the eggs. Then whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture.

Continue whisking over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter.  (Note: if the pudding has lumps, strain the mixture through a wire-mesh sieve). Pour the pudding into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the pudding to avoid creating a skin. Cool in the refrigerator about 2 hours. Makes: 5 cups

Make the chocolate sauce: set a medium saucepan with high sides over medium heat and bring all ingredients to a simmer. This should take 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking at a low simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will see the sauce start to change: the chocolate will look a little separated in the beginning but as it continues to cook, it will become thick, glossy, and shiny. Set aside to cool at room temperature. Makes: 4 cups

Make the pretzel crumbs: preheat the oven to 300°F. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients except the butter. Pour in the melted butter and mix again. Spread the mixture in an even layer onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir mixture when it immediately comes out of the oven to break it up into clumps. Set aside to cool. Makes: 6 cups

Whip the cream: pour the cream and confectioners’ sugar into a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer, beat until soft peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Soft peaks will be thick enough to hold a shape in soft swirls. 

To serve, evenly divide the pudding into twelve 8-ounce Mason jars. Add 2 tablespoons chocolate sauce followed by 2 tablespoons pretzel crumbs into each jar. Distribute the sliced bananas next and finish with the whipped cream. Serve at room temperature or chilled 2 to 3 hours before serving. 

Yield

12 servings