DamGoodSweet by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel (Taunton Press, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the American category AND a 2010 James Beard Book awards finalist in the Baking and Desserts category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide and James Beard Finalists' Guide.
Since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina quite a few cookbooks have been devoted to the diverse and culturally rich cuisine of New Orleans, but none have paid homage to the sweet side of the Big Easy quite like David Gaus does.
In DamGoodSweet, Gaus presents recipes ranging from Beignets to King Cake that not only show you the desserts of New Orleans, but also let you see for yourself why New Orleans was, and still is, one of the best food towns in this country.
For me, DamGoodSweet also hits home. My husband's two favorite desserts are Monkey Bread and Banana Pudding - two dishes with roots in the south. I'm always looking for a way to gussy up his mother's old school recipe. And, I was able to do just that with the Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafer Crumble recipe (see below) in DamGoodSweet.
For more on DamGoodSweet check out my review with the recipe for Buttermilk Beignets.
Win a copy of DamGoodSweet! - details
Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafer Crumble
From DamGoodSweet by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel (Taunton Press, 2009)
Serves 6 For the pudding
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons banana liqueur (or 1 teaspoon banana flavoring)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 ripe bananas
For the crumble
- 1 cup vanilla wafers (about 15 cookies)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
To make the pudding
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk a little at a time into the egg mixture. Once the bottom of the bowl is warm, slowly whisk in the remaining hot milk. Pour the mixture back into a clean medium saucepan (cleaning the saucepan prevents the pudding from scorching), add the banana liqueur, and whisk over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Cook while constantly whisking until the pudding is glossy and quite thick, 11/2 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the pudding to a clean bowl.
Add the vanilla and butter and gently whisk until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
To make the crumble
While the pudding sets, heat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place the wafers in a resealable plastic bag and seal (make sure there is no air in the bag prior to sealing). Using a rolling pin or a flat-bottomed saucepan or pot, crush the vanilla wafers until they're coarsely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl and stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a spoon to evenly stir in the melted butter, transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and toast in the oven until brown and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature or frozen for up to 2 months; re-crisp in a 325°F oven for 6 to 7 minutes if necessary.)
Slice the bananas in half crosswise and then slice in half lengthwise so you have 4 quarters. Slice the banana quarters crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces and divide between 6 custard cups or martini glasses (sprinkle with a squeeze of lemon juice if you like-this helps prevent browning). Whisk the pudding until it is soft and smooth, about 30 seconds, and then divide it between the custard cups. Top with the vanilla wafer mixture and serve. (If not served immediately, the pudding will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, with plastic wrap intact. Sprinkle the crumbs on just before serving.)
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.