Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Banana Cream Pudding

for pie, parfaits, pavlova and even (yummm) plain

Because no judgment, promise, if anyone's tempted to spoon warm pudding right from the pot. But if – IF – there's pudding leftover, one pudding recipe makes a traditional Banana Cream Pie and Banana Cream Pudding Parfaits (think banana cream pie in a cup!) and Banana Cream Pudding Pavlova. Any one would be perfect for Pi Day that's coming up fast on March 14th. Or delighting those you love, any day of the year.

Banana Cream Pudding Parfaits, it's Banana Cream Pie in a cup. One pudding recipe for parfaits, pie, pavlova and even (yummm) just plain with chopped banana.

Did you hear? It's been a pudding factory around here, getting the recipe exactly right. Okay, okay, so it really wasn't a factory even if I've made more Banana Cream Pudding in the last month than in my whole life.

It all started with a plaintive plea for Banana Cream Pie, that's the "favorite man pie" in my circle. Just mention Banana Cream Pie and suddenly the men-folk get dreamy far-away looks and then hopeful grins, whether nine or almost-ninety or any age in between. Who can resist?

Pie one, pie two: neither one was exactly perfect. So I focused on just the pudding until I got it right, one half-batch after another.


Along the way, I learned so much about Banana Cream Pie, especially the pudding part!

Texture For pie, the pudding should be firm but not stiff or gummy. But for parfaits and plain pudding, the pudding should be soft and spoonable.
Sweetness When the pudding is used for pie or parfaits with the Stabilized Whipped Cream Topping, the pudding itself needs way less sugar but when it's plain, extra sugar is lovely.
Richness Even though lots of restaurants use heavy cream, to my taste cream makes a pudding that's just too-too rich. I went back and forth, then settled on whole milk even though 2% milk is "almost" as good. I also loved the depth added by a small measure of evaporated milk but again, it's not mandatory.

I also compared different ways to stabilize the whipped cream. Nobody wants watery whipped cream! (After awhile, that's what happens to cream whipped only with a touch of sugar.) Nobody wants whipped cream that evaporates! (Who knew? That's what happens when you apply an aerosol whipped topping ahead of time. I was so embarrassed to serve this to friends!)

Gelatin To stabilize whipped cream so that it will last without breaking down, gelatin works great but, really, who keeps gelatin on hand?
Cream Cheese So I fixed on cream cheese to stabilize the whipped cream. This means it will "hold up" for a few hours and even longer. That said, even though it will hold up, it won't look or taste as fresh so I recommend applying the Stabilized Whipped Cream no more than about four hours ahead of time.

I also played around with some fun variations of Banana Cream Pudding. Some worked, some didn't.
Coconut Milk Use a can of full-fat coconut milk, then supplement with regular milk. This pudding is excellent, just skip the vanilla, bourbon or brandy because they somehow cancel themselves out. Banana Cream Pudding made with coconut is especially rich and thick, really good.
"Light" Banana Cream Pudding Use 2 percent milk instead of whole milk. Drop the sugar down to 8 tablespoons. Use a half tablespoon of butter. My book club liked this lots and I keep thinking it would be great swirled with Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding! Because of the calorie differences, this will be my "every day" Banana Cream Pudding.
"Intense" Banana For really intense banana flavor, drop the sugar down to 4 tablespoons but add two very ripe bananas, even two "black bananas". The downside with adding real banana is that the strands of banana are visible, just like in banana bread. You can make them mostly disappear by putting the whole mixture through a food processor and adding a few drops of yellow food coloring. I loved this version but my taste testers, even one who liked it at first, found it "too rich".
I also tried a small bottle of "banana emulsion" from HomeGoods that supposedly adds intense banana flavor. It doesn't.
My favorite way to add real banana flavor was just to stir diced bananas into the pudding itself. After about four hours, the bananas do start to turn slightly brown but it wasn't unsightly or anything.
Jello Banana Pudding Yeah, I really did cook a box of Jello Banana Pudding, just to see! It was "really banana-y" at least in that artificial banana tasting way. It was also very, very VERY sweet. But still? I think lots of people will love the familiarity of this old boxed favorite.

BANANA CREAM PUDDING

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 3-1/4 cups Banana Cream Pudding, easily halved and even "thirded"
    PUDDING
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 12 tablespoons sugar (use 8 tablespoons for parfaits & pie)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch (use 4 tablespoons for pie)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or more whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons flavoring such as vanilla, bourbon (my favorite!) or sherry
    STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM (enough for a 9-inch pie, make about half for parfaits)
  • 1 teaspoon cream cheese, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flavoring such as bourbon, brandy or vanilla

PUDDING In a heavy saucepan, off heat collect the egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and table salt. With a whisk, blend well, then whisk in the milks.

Turn heat to medium high and cook, stirring every minute until mixture begins to heat up. (If you're an ADD cook like me, just stay with the pot, whisking every so often, so you don't get distracted and forget the pot.) At the first sign of the mixture beginning to thicken, lower the heat to low and whisk continuously, scraping the sides to avoid scorching the pudding, and let cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter and flavoring. Let the temperature drop for about five minutes, stirring every five minutes until pudding is warm (not hot, not cold). Use warm pudding for Banana Cream Pudding Parfaits or Banana Cream Pie. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve.

STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM Whisk cream cheese with about 1 tablespoon cream until the cream cheese has been completely mixed in. Add remaining cream and whip until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whip until firm peaks form. Mix in the flavoring.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/2 cup "Light" Banana Cream Pudding (see recipe at left)/Banana Cream Pudding (recipe above): 178/240 Calories; 7/9g Tot Fat; 3/5g Sat Fat; 203/211mg Cholesterol; 409/425mg Sodium; 23/31g Carb; 0g Fiber; 20/27g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4/5.5 & WW Points Plus 5/6. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 9/7 tablespoons (6/3g protein).

    FOR "PLAIN" BANANA CREAM PUDDING
  • Banana Cream Pudding
  • Diced banana
  • Ground nutmeg

Stir together Banana Cream Pudding and diced banana and sprinkle with a little nutmeg. For the best appearance, consume the pudding within about 4 hours.


    FOR BANANA CREAM PUDDING PARFAITS
  • Banana Cream Pudding
  • Diced banana
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • (Repeat)
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream
  • Ground nutmeg

Pour warm (not hot, not cold) Banana Cream Pudding and the Stabilized Whipped Cream into separate ziplock bags, seal and snip a corner on each for squeezing. In a tall clear glass, build these layers: Banana Cream Pudding, diced banana, graham cracker crumbs, repeat these three. Top with Stabilized Whipped Cream, sprinkle with nutmeg. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to about four hours.

    FOR BANANA CREAM PIE
  • Prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/3 Banana Cream Pudding
  • Two ripe bananas, sliced
  • Remaining Banana Cream Pudding
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Caramel sauce, optional

Spread about 1/3 of the warm (not hot, not cold) Banana Cream Pudding onto the crust, then add a layer of banana slices. Top with the remaining Pudding. Let cool. Spread Stabilized Whipped Cream on top, sprinkle with nutmeg. Refrigerate for about four hours until completely chilled before slicing. After slicing, drizzle with caramel sauce, oh-so-decadent!


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Let's Talk ... Pie!


Banana Cream Pie, drizzled with caramel sauce. One pudding recipe for pie, parfaits, pavlova and even (yummm) just plain with chopped banana.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is Banana Cream Pie the favorite pie in your circle, too?

ABOUT THAT CARAMEL! Many years ago, I put down a layer of caramel on the graham cracker crust before adding the pudding and bananas. But this way, as pictured, with a little caramel drizzled on top? You use less and taste more. Win-win!


Or What About ... Pavlova?!


Banana Cream Pudding Pavlova. One pudding recipe for pie, parfaits, pavlova and even (yummm) just plain with chopped banana.

USE UP THOSE EGG WHITES! Use the leftover egg whites to make the meringue cups called "pavlova". Add some diced banana, Banana Cream Pudding and a little fruit. Instant dessert!


Or ... Banana Cream Pudding In a Jar?!


Banana Cream Pudding in Jar. One pudding recipe for pie, parfaits, pavlova and even (yummm) just plain with chopped banana.

NO PARFAIT CUPS? Small canning jars are wonderful for portioning out small "meals" for the fridge but also for small, portable desserts like Banana Cream Pudding. Just toss some diced banana into the Banana Cream Pudding, top with some whipped cream and – but then you know this part, right? – DEVOUR.


More Pie Recipes for Pi Day on 3.14 aka March 14th

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Lemon Meringue Pie Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Rhubarb Custard Pie
~ more pie recipes ~

More Pudding Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding Brown Rice & Quinoa Rice Pudding Lemon Pudding Cake
~ more pudding recipes ~

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2015 Kitchen Parade



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spiced Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower Tagine

The Recipe: A one-pot supper, chicken and roasted cauliflower with warm spices and a touch of sour from the exquisite Spiced Preserved Lemons.

The Conversation: Treasured Sunday-morning rituals.

Spiced Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower Tagine, a one-pot supper, chicken and roasted cauliflower with warm spices and preserved lemon. #LowCarb #GlutenFree #HighProtein For Weight Watchers, just #PP7.

Do you have a morning ritual that you treasure? Here, it's the Sunday-morning ritual that I most treasure. It starts early, always with coffee, usually outside under the big maple tree when it's warm, usually tucked in by the fire when it's cold.

A grand plan for breakfast emerges, I'm happy to turn over the reins for man-style bacon and eggs, nearly always with no-recipe vegetables of some sort cooked and presented beautifully and other than delicious, never the same twice. My job is to go for the Sunday papers, the dog shares this duty, it's a half mile up and back.

So no, it's not church. But even so, it's a holy time, one of reverence, spiritual uplift and human communion. I like to think God approves.

My favorite part of the Sunday papers? The Times Sunday Magazine! I check it straight off because often the Sunday recipe turns into Sunday supper.

And have you seen what the Times has done to its food section? Check out what Sam Sifton's new leadership has collected, here or maybe here. So cool! There's some NYC-only stuff but plenty for the rest of us, all beautifully curated. I love the daily e-mail with two or three weeknight-perfect recipe ideas, seasonal, simple. It's my kinda food, maybe yours too?

Anyway. Last November when Arctic Cold invaded much of the country, Chicken Tagine was our Sunday supper, sourced from that day's Sunday Magazine. But no way was I heading to the grocery store just because the recipe called for cauliflower!

So I substituted an on-hand butternut squash, it turned out beautifully! The next week, I substituted round steak for the chicken, fresh cranberries for the olives and cut a head of cauliflower into snowy florets – so so good! Then for this past Sunday dinner, I finally got down to "following" the recipe, chicken, spices, cauliflower and olives.

But sweet potato would work, so would potatoes, rutabagas, even a medley of fresh tomato, corn and okra during the summer season. Zucchini too? Yes! Just think of any vegetable that "tastes good" paired with lemon and can handle some spices.

This is season-crossing eating at its best.

But the one ingredient there's no skipping? The preserved lemon! What's that, you ask? Here's how I make Spiced Preserved Lemons.

ALANNA's TIPS Wondering how to wrangle a head of cauliflower into sweet little florets? Here's a quick photo tutorial. Or if you go for butternut squash, here's How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers, it's a life-saver! (Or at least a finger-saver!) If the squash is large, about 2-1/2 to 3 pounds, you'll get a pound of cubes from the "neck" alone. We do have a tagine so often use it – I love the drama of whisking off the domed lid at the table with great flourish! But to save on dishes for a one-pot supper, use a shallow braising pan like this one or a deep, heavy skillet (non-stick, cast iron, etc.). Whatever you choose, just make sure it's oven-safe and has a lid. Many people like to leave the chicken skins on, so go ahead, if you like, but it will up the calories considerably. One great trick for "capturing the flavor" of the chicken skin without all the calories is to remove all the skins but to add just one skin to the skillet along with the oil when cooking the chicken. Great trick! Don't so many recipes call for just a tablespoon or two of tomato paste? That's why I figured out How to Freeze Tomato Paste a tablespoon at a time. You do keep chicken stock in the freezer, right? Here's how I do it, No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock. Cauliflower florets nest easily between the chicken pieces and because the cauliflower isn't submerged in the braising liquid, it doesn't get soggy. But for all other vegetables, I think, I'd toss the roasted vegetables in with the Nesting Vegetables, then nest the chicken (or beef or whatever your choice ...) on top. Some preserved lemons are a little softer than others. If it mashes/pulverizes easily with the back of a spoon, great. If it doesn't, remove the seeds, then run the lemon through a mini food processor. For just a touch of that lovely sourness of preserved lemon, use only the skin and chop it finely (discard the flesh).

SPICED CHICKEN &
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER TAGINE

Hands-on time: 50 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 8
    ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
  • 1 large head (1200g) cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    SPICE MIX
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    CHICKEN
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and/or chicken legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    NESTING VEGETABLES
  • 1 large onion, sliced in large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup good chicken stock
  • Roasted Cauliflower
    AND FINALLY, WHAT MAKES A TAGINE A TAGINE
  • 1 preserved lemon, smashed with the back of a spoon (how to make Spiced Preserved Lemons)
  • 1/2 cup olives

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER Set oven to 400F/200C. For easy clean up, if you like, line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl (you'll use it again for the Spice Mix and Chicken), toss the cauliflower and olive oil. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer, let roast until just beginning to soft, about 20 minutes.

SPICE MIX Mix the spices in the same large bowl. (If you like, bring out the cauliflower, toss with a tablespoon of the spice mix, return to the oven to finish.)

CHICKEN Tear off and discard the chicken skins. Toss the chicken pieces and the Spice Mix, thoroughly and evenly coating the chicken.

Heat oil in the skillet on medium-high until hot and shimmery, add chicken pieces – they should sizzle; the thighs go top-side down; don't crowd the pieces, you will likely need to cook the chicken in two or even three batches. Cook until brown on one side, turn and cook until brown on the other side. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.

NESTING VEGETABLES Add the onion to the hot skillet, scraping up spices and oil from the cooking vessel to coat the onion pieces. (If the skillet's a little dry, add a splash of water.) Cook just until beginning to soften, stirring often. Stir in ginger and tomato paste, let cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and chicken stock, let cook 1 minute.

If using a tagine, transfer Nesting Vegetables to the tagine and nest the chicken pieces on top. If using the same skillet, just nestle the chicken pieces on top. Nestle the Roasted Cauliflower between the pieces, stems down.

OVEN Reduce oven temperature to 350F/175C.

Cover the skillet or tagine, cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, with a spoon, stir the preserved lemon into the Nesting Vegetables as best you can, in the gaps between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the olives.

Return to the oven, still covered, for another 30 minutes.

SERVE Serve tableside with Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice.

NUTRITION INFORMATION First, a note. Three pounds of chicken yields about 2 pounds of meat that itself would yield the standard four ounces uncooked meat per serving used in Kitchen Parade recipes. That said, because cauliflower shrinks while roasting, even a big head of cauliflower shrinks down to eight small-ish cauliflower servings, you may want to roast extra cauliflower and/or serve another vegetable on the side. A large butternut squash, however, doesn't shrink and easily feeds eight.

Per Serving, made with cauliflower: 271 Calories; 13g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 94mg Cholesterol; 527mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 5g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 26g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 6 & WW Points Plus 7. This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized'.
Adapted from New York Times.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Let's Talk ... About Sunday Morning Rituals


Spiced Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower Tagine, a one-pot supper, chicken and roasted cauliflower with warm spices and preserved lemon. #LowCarb #GlutenFree #HighProtein For Weight Watchers, just #PP7.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there a rhythm to your Sunday mornings that you treasure? Do share ...


More Recipes from the New York Times

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs Chicken with Shallots Rainbow Chicken
from Kitchen Parade


Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2015 Kitchen Parade