Happy Friday! Don’t forget that you have until noon today to enter to win the cookbook “Steak with Friends” by Rick Tramonto. To enter, scroll down to the blog entry from Wednesday and leave a comment! I’ll announce the winner this afternoon after a random drawing.
I’ve been enjoying this banana pudding discussion so much that I can’t get my mind off the stuff. Last night, I started wondering if Edna Lewis had a recipe for banana pudding. When I think of true Southern cooking, my mind usually makes a beeline for Edna Lewis long before it meanders around to Paula Deen. Lewis was probably one of the best, most celebrated black chefs in the history of America. To learn more, check out this column I wrote about her two years ago.
Lewis had several projects with her close friend and protege, chef Scott Peacock, including their cookbook, “The Gift of Southern Cooking.” That book, it turns out, did include a recipe for banana pudding made from scratch (I don’t think Lewis did it any other way). It’s really long, which is always a good sign! I noticed with great interest that they advise using lightly toasted cubes of angel food cake in place of vanilla wafer cookies, if desired. I’m going to attach the recipe below the jump.
Also, reader Autumn mentioned that she loves steak au poivre. There is a recipe for au poivre sauce in the Tramonto book that I am happy to share below.
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
12 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes and lightly toasted, or vanilla wafers
4 large ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 5 cups)
8 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Put the milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, and the vanilla bean into a nonreactive saucepan. (Do not split the vanilla bean, just twist and bend it a bit to bruise and release its oils.) Heat slowly until the milk and cream are just below a simmer, then cover and remove from heat, and allow to steep 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, put the egg yolks in a bowl, and whisk in the sugar, followed by the flour and the salt, mixing until there are no lumps and everything is completely smooth. Remove the vanilla bean from the steeped milk and cream, and slowly whisk into the egg yolks. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, over moderately high heat until the custard thickens and begins to bubble. Be sure to whisk all over the bottom of the pan as well as along the bottom edges. Cook for 1 minute after the custard begins to boil, then remove from the heat. At this point, it should be very thick. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a mixing bowl, and immediately whisk in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and the vanilla extract.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
4. To assemble: Spoon a thin layer of the custard onto the bottom of an 8-cup ovenproof baking dish. Top with a layer of cubed angel food cake and sliced banana. Spoon more custard over, and continue layering, ending with custard spooned over the top.
5. Making the meringue: Put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl. Beat the whites slowly until they become frothy. Add the vanilla, and continue beating until the egg whites just begin to form soft mounds. While still beating, begin sprinkling in the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating only until each addition is incorporated before proceeding to the next. When all of the sugar is incorporated, beat the egg whites until they are moist and very glossy and hold peaks that are firm but still bend when lifted on the end of a whisk.
6. Immediately spoon the beaten egg whites over the surface of the assembled custard, and using a spoon or spatula, spread the whites to the edge to make sure you get a good seal between the meringue and the sides of the baking dish. Work quickly to make decorative swirls and patterns in the meringue, and put the dish immediately into the preheated oven to bake for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. (Be sure to check after 2 minutes to see how the meringue is browning, and turn the dish from time to time, if needed, to ensure even browning.) Serve the banana pudding warm or at room temperature.
Au Poivre Sauce
Makes 2 cups
1/2 cup brandy
15 whole peppercorns
1 shallot, minced
1 bay leaf
2 cups veal jus or stock*
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 lemon slice, 1/8 inch thick
1 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
* In the absence of veal stock, substitute beef broth.
1. Combine the brandy, peppercorns, shallot and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced and almost dry. Add the veal jus and cream and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and add the lemon slice and sherry vinegar. Let steep for 15 minutes.
3. Strain and serve immediately over steak or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Adapted from “Steak with Friends” by Rick Tramonto