Thursday, August 1, 2013

Banana puddin'

I constantly read about an ingredient in online recipes that I never find in Bahrain. So I actually gave up on those recipes and didn't bother look up any alternatives. This ingredient is Nilla wafers. 

I found this box sitting  on a shelf at Al Osra - looking at me. Patiently waiting. So I grabbed a couple. 

This Nabsico product is imported from the States so it's safe to say that it's the real deal. No local knock-offs. 

A good friend makes the most delicious banana pudding and she uses Nilla wafers. Her recipe however needs 24-hour planning and I only had 2 so I had to search for other options. I didn't have to look too far though - Nilla's most popular recipe is on the side of the box. 
I won't repost the ingredients nor recipe. But I will post the pictures and some tips. I used Splenda instead of regular sugar and used more bananas and wafers only because my dish was bigger. I did not change the quantity of the ingredients and found that the amount of custard was just fine. 

The most important step is making the custard (or pudding). You need to set up a double-boiler. Fill up a pot with some water and secure an oven-proof bowl on top. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. 
Also, remember to constantly stir or your pudding/custard will clot. Stir like there's no tomorrow. 
When the custard thickens, cool it briefly before you start layering. 
Also, don't skip the first layer -  custard at the base - or spooning out your dessert will be a mess. 
Cut your bananas approximately half a centimeter thick. This is the perfect amount of banana - not overpowering and not too subtle. 
I managed to get 3 layers. 
For the meringue topping, make sure you whip your room-temperpature egg whites to a stiff peak. This is what a stiff peak looks like:
Over-beating can make the fluff limp so keep your eye on your mixer. 

When topping your pudding, make sure you "seal" the top. Sealing avoids any custard from bubbling over and ruining your meringue topping. 
Bake until golden. 

I cooled mine completely and refrigerated it for an hour. And then...

I dove in. Bliss. 

Bon appetite!

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