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Written by Heather Jones   
Thursday, 25 March 2010
List of viewable recipes from "DamGoodSweet" by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel

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.

ImageSince 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.)

To serve

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.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 April 2011 )
iced_coffee (Registered) 2010-03-25 21:33:05

This book looks great! My family is Creole so I just love New Orleans cuisine!
jettrash23 (Registered) 2010-03-25 23:07:36

Having roots firmly planted in the south, I'm so excited to try out some of these seemingly delicious delights. Anything that incorporates ripe bananas and vanilla wafers reminds me of summers with my Grams.
Mmmm, and aww...
Ploofafa (Registered) 2010-03-27 05:44:30

I remember sitting down at the dinner table at the end of a long summer's day, still giggling from all the festivities, to be welcomed by a big ol' bowl of this amazing stuff. We'd all try to woof it down as fast as we could to get more, knowing that we really were too full, but that did not matter...

Well, those times are long gone, as my grandmother, the traditional maker of the dish, has retired and moved on. Hoping some day, that I may see her again (and I dare say, her pudding ), this book is quite the pleasant surprise.

Although, I wonder, is anything ever as good as a Grandmother's cooking?
Sandra (Unregistered) 2010-03-27 05:54:46

We love NOLA! It is THE "dessert" of the south. DamGoodSweet will be fabulous to have in the kitchen!
Username (Registered) 2010-03-27 06:08:41

We love NOLA! It is THE "dessert" of the south. DamGoodSweet will be fabulous to have in the kitchen!
New Family Traditions
leftinthekitchen (Registered) 2010-03-27 06:22:25

I've only been recently introduced to the complexities of Cajun cooking and baking. My fiancee's family is from all over LA and they've made great effort to have me taste all that they have to offer. From his grandmother's banana pudding (which is divine), to red deans and rice, spicy crunchy cheese straws, and good tasso, I get very excited for dinner w/ his family.
While his dad is the baker and sweets maker for all occasions, carefully guarding family recipes, I look forward to the chance to make him this banana pudding. I think he has a birthday coming up, and what better way to embrace their traditions w/ a new recipe and a new baker ready to take the reins, and also those recipes.
cjvierow (Registered) 2010-03-27 11:10:35

I smile and tell people I'm from the south--sometimes I neglect to mention it's 'southern Washington state' unless they specifically ask--but isn't that "south"??? I love southern--especially the food and have several southern cooks in my google reader as well as Project Foodie!! This cookbook sounds like it's 'right up my alley' to try some of the good stuff I've missed. From a "true" southern gal--at least in my mind anyway--CJ
Aparna (Unregistered) 2010-04-11 18:57:45

Have heard so much about southern cuisine and what better way to start experimenting than with dessert.
My husband would be so happy with these desserts.
Aparna (Registered) 2010-04-11 19:02:01

That comment was mine. Just realised I needed to be signed to comment!
southerncooker (Registered) 2010-04-21 05:17:10

Being from the south I love southern cookbooks. My husband loves desserts and of course since he is also from the south, southern desserts are among his favorites. This book sure has an interesting title and I know my husband would love it if I made him desserts from this one.
And the winner is...
pam (Publisher) 2010-05-01 14:55:46

Great NOLA comments. Ploofafa we can't wait to hear how these recipes compare to your Grandmothers - congratulations you're the winner!
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