Sydney and I had been working with more than 360 grams/a dozen egg whites, it would have been a shame to waste the all those yolks. I generally save them for another day, but these eggs happened to be freshly laid that day. I suggested we whip up some banana pudding; my husband loves banana pudding (his grandmother would always have some when he visited). Sydney reminded me 1. we did not have any bananas and 2. she is not a big fan of bananas. It took all but a minute for me to propose almond vanilla pudding using the same recipe, but with out the bananas and banana liqueur.
There is a story behind this recipe I would like to share. My husband and I were married about 6 months when he asked me if I knew how to create a banana pudding; he explained when he would spend the summer and vacations with his grandmother she always had homemade banana pudding for him , and it was the BEST banana pudding he had ever tasted. I choose to build my own recipe, rather than bother his grand mother (she was still living back in 1991). I thought I had invented a world class banana pudding with cognac, banana liqueur, good bananas, and freshly whipped cream.
I waited, impatiently and excitedly for him to arrive home from the office. The entire dinner I could not wait to display and serve my banana pudding; DF took one bite politely claimed it was good, but his grandmother’s was better. I felt punched in the stomach, and the very next day I called Grandma Dorthia. I explained how I was trying to impress DF with my version of banana pudding and failed; I kindly asked for her top secret banana pudding recipe. From the other end of the phone I heard a robust laughter, she was laughing so hard I felt incompetent, just then she calmed down. She explained she wasn’t laughing because my pudding did not fair well against hers, but because her recipe was so simple and not really homemade. Grandma Dorthia’s recipe was 1 box of “jello” vanilla pudding and four ripped bananas. I learned two valuable lessons that day NEVER try to out bake ones grandmother and to call. I had not planned on telling DF what his grandma’s recipe was, but she called that night and confessed. I wish I had a camera, the look on DF’s face.
DF still thinks his grandma’s pudding is special, but he has come to love my recipe. Every time I whip the pudding up I cannot help, but think of her. When Sydney was born Grandma Dorthia had an opportunity to sample my homemade version; she sweetly explained to DF my pudding was amazing.
Almond Crème Almond-Vanilla Pudding:
165 grams/1½ -cups heavy whipping cream
165 grams/ 1 1/2 cups crème frâiche
244 grams/1-cups whole milk
100 grams/1-cup sugar
50 grams/¼ -cup sugar
64 grams/4 large egg yolks
24 grams/3 -Tablespoon cornstarch
10 grams/2-Teaspoons Calvados or cognac
10 grams/ 2-teaspoons Ameretto
½ -teaspoon pure almond extract, plus a splash
1 vanilla bean, scraped for seeds
16 grams/1-Tablespoon butter, cold cut into cubes
Prepare your mise en place, and scrape the seeds form the vanilla pod. Have a fine mesh sieve set to the side.
Bring the milk, heavy whipping cream, crème frâiche and vanilla skin to a kiss of a boil in a large saucepot, with 1-cup of the sugar.
Simultaneously in a mixing bowl, add egg yokes, ¼ -cup of sugar and whisk together until the egg yolks sand sugar is pale yellow in color and thickened. Add cornstarch and mix to combine.
When the milk-cream mixture reaches a full simmer (tiny bubbles form on the inner outside of saucepot), gradually whisk ½ -cup of the simmering milk/crème mixture into the yolk mixture to temper, and slowly pour the tempered egg mixture back into the sauce pot through a strainer (pressing with a rubber spatula) with the remaining crème-milk mixture .
Return to a simmer over medium heat, stirring gently but constantly with a wooden spoon until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir constantly until it comes to a simmer and the mixture thickens enough that it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add a pinch of salt.
Remove from the heat and add the butter, almond extract, and vanilla seeds. Whisk until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the Calvados and Ameretto, unless you desire a brandy-ameretto facial stand back as you whisk. The almond vanilla pudding should be silky smooth and shiny. While the pudding is still fairly warm pour into individual ramekins, heat proof glass or a large bowl (to serve family style).
Cool to room temperature.
Place plastic film on the pudding, to prevent a skin from forming and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
I froze one of the ramekins, DF likes his mousses and puddings frozen cold, and I thought it would have a outstanding presentation. I forgot to wrap a food safe acetate strip in between the pudding and the ramekin, oh well live and learn (besides DF still loved it).
As with most of the special treats meant for Sydney, DF was delighted with the almond-vanilla crème pudding; though banana is still his favorite this became a close second. He was disappointed to find he had to share the pudding with Sydney.
Serve with freshly whipped cream and garnish with silver almond, or just garnish with silvered almonds.
I believe Sydney and I can confidently call this recipe a successes; one that we will be preparing often.