Cooking pudding from scratch took researching a lot of pudding recipes, and quite a bit of trial and error. By George, I think I've got it!
Pudding is one of those "simple dessert recipes" that takes knowing your heat source, your cooking pot, and knowing how the ingredients react to heat. The whole process happens rather quickly, but it still takes patience and a watchful eye to make it come out right.
HERE'S ALL IT TAKES TO MAKE FRESH BANANA PUDDING
makes 4 (1/2-cup) servings
- 2 very ripe, brown bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/2 small vanilla pod, split open OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, add banana slices, vanilla pod or extract, and whole milk. Heat milk until you see steam or vapors rising up from the milk. Do not stir. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow the mixture to steep for 45 minutes to 1-hour.
Strain milk into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Discard banana and vanilla pod. If the milk doesn't quite measure 2 cups, add enough cream or whole milk to top it off. Pour flavored milk back into the 2-quart pan. Beat in 2 egg yolks. Slowly heat it up over medium heat. Stir constantly until hot, but not simmering. This takes up to 5 minutes.
Sift sugar, cornstarch and salt together. Gradually whisk dry ingredients into milk mixture. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes maybe. Check thickness using a wooden spoon. Does the pudding adhere to the back of the spoon? If no, keep stirring. If yes, keep reading. As soon as you see it thickening, remove it from the heat. Once it starts to thicken, it gets thicker rather quickly.
Remove pan from heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until melted.
Pour pudding into a serving bowl or individual cups. Cover with plastic wrap, allow the plastic to come in contact with the pudding. This prevents a skin from forming on the top. Chill in icebox for 1 1/2 to 2-hours.
If you're feeling impatient. This fresh banana pudding tastes great warm, too. Try it for yourself and see.