Here I am, convalescing from back surgery, fast approaching Christmas and figuring what to make for a family gathering that will be both easy to make and special at the same time. In talking with family members I discovered one of my brother in law's favorite dishes is Southern Banana Pudding. That is my task, to reinvent a classic and put a special spin on it. Why not a pie? I will make a crumb crust made from "Nilla Waffers" and melted butter. Instead of sliced bananas I thought back to a raw food presentation I attended where the presenter pureed ripe frozen bananas into a "banana ice cream", a cold base layer for our pie. Next we need the prerequisite vanilla pudding layer with a little toasted coconut for a twist. Let us finish with a nice browned meringue for the perfect ending. Your assignment: Pick a favorite dish from a friend or family and make it something special. Marrey Chistmas!
6 ripe bananas frozen
1 package "Nilla Wafers"
1 stick melted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
1 vanilla bean
3 Tbsp. Corn Starch
1/3 cup sugar
1Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted sweet coconut
3 egg whites
3 Tbsp. sugar
1. Puree most of the Nilla wafers retaining some for decoration adding 1 stick melted butter to create a crust. Spread mixture in a greased pie pan smoothing into a shell.
2. In a medium saucepan add 1/3 cup sugar with the cornstarch and 1/3 of a cup of the milk and whisk into a paste. Add the remaining milk and cream and heat on medium heat until the mixture thickens. Cut the heat and add the vanilla extract. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add to the pudding. Cool and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
3. Skin the frozen bananas and puree or put through a juicer to create a banana "ice cream". Spread the banana mixture and sprinkle half of the toasted coconut. Spread the cooled pudding mixture evenly and sprinkle with the rest of the coconut.
4. Whip the egg whites with 3 Tbsp. sugar until stiff peaks form. Arrange the rest of the wafers around the top of the pie and top with the meringue. Brown top with torch or under broiler. Serve immediately.
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.