Thursday, February 9, 2012

Individual Banana Puddings

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – August 25, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.
Individual Banana Puddings recipe originally published in All You – April 2011.

I’ll be honest, I often pick recipes based on what I want to eat.  That’s not to say that I don’t take my husband’s taste into account – I know what he likes and doesn’t like and wouldn’t force him to eat something he would hate – but for the most part I’m the one who sets the menu for the week.

This recipe is all about him though.

He LOVES banana pudding and can even whip up a quickie batch using instant pudding and Cool Whip.  I enjoy making pudding from scratch so when I saw this recipe, I knew he would love it.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Individual Banana Puddings
First I need to state the obvious… it isn’t an individual pudding serving.  I really wanted to try the recipe, but don’t own ramekins.  I know.  THE HORROR!  I found a serving dish that would accommodate the amount of pudding, bananas and cookies and made it as a dessert dish.  This picture is of an individual serving.  My pudding looks thicker and seems to be more banana and cookie than “puddingish”.

© All You
You wouldn’t know there was banana in it if it wasn’t called banana pudding.  Still, it looks creamier than mine.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – The prep work is kind of messy and you have to pour the hot pudding into the dishes, so there is a lot of potential for a dripping mess.

Start-to-Finish Time: OVER 2 HOURS – It took me about 30 minutes to prepare, cook and assemble the pudding dish and then it had to chill for 2 hours.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – The only slicing you have to worry about is the bananas, but there is a lot of potential for mess due to the separating eggs and crushing cookies.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – Yes, making pudding seems daunting (and you can get a decent one out of a box) but it really isn’t all that difficult.  It is mostly basic cooking and baking steps.  You just have to pay attention and make sure you don’t over cook it.

OverallNOT BAD – Honestly, it was very tasty right after I made it, but it doesn’t do well in the refrigerator.  My husband ate the majority of it after the first night.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 6 (approximately 1 cup)
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill: 2 hours

The amount of servings is accurate, especially if you do them in the individual servings.  As for the timing, it took me a little extra time including more time to cook and assemble the dish.  Here is how long it took me to make the dessert:
  • Prep: 16 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Assembly Time: 7 minutes
  • Chill: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 34 minutes
I’m not sure what they included in their prep time but it was right on the money.  My prep time included getting the ingredients ready (but not measured), separating the eggs, slicing the bananas and crushing the cookies.  I’m not sure why, but it took me twice as long to cook the pudding and it appears they didn’t give any time for assembling the ramekins/casserole.

Nutritional Information:
  • Calories 306
  • Total Fat 14 g
  • Saturated Fat 7 g
  • Protein 4 g
  • Total Carbohydrate 44 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Cholesterol 100 mg
  • Sodium 135 mg
At first glance, I was pretty impressed with the nutritional information considering it is a dessert.  Then I thought about what each serving contained: 1/3 cup of pudding, approximately half a banana and 4 Nilla Wafers.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t that impressive.

As usual, I verified the numbers independently of what was given by All You.  The Nutritional Information I computed using the ingredients they listed was:
  • Calories 351.4
  • Total Fat 15.4 g
  • Saturated Fat 7.4 g
  • Protein 4.5 g
  • Total Carbohydrate 50.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
  • Cholesterol 95.8 mg
  • Sodium 150.6 mg
While it wasn’t the same, it was fairly close.  It was higher in all the unhealthy factors though: calories, fat, carbohydrates (and not the good kind) and sodium.  Surprisingly, it was slightly lower in cholesterol… yay for small wonders!  I made a substitution using Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers, so I thought I’d re-run the numbers again.  It came out as follows:
  • Calories 292.9
  • Total Fat 11.8 g
  • Saturated Fat 6.3 g
  • Protein 4 g
  • Total Carbohydrate 45.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
  • Cholesterol 95.8 mg
  • Sodium 132.2 mg
Um, WOW!  What a difference Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers make!  I don’t necessarily feel so bad about this dish’s nutritional information anymore.  However, it doesn’t have any great contributions to the RDA of vitamins needed in your diet.  Oh well, it’s a desert, so I’m not going to judge too much.

Changes denoted by red text

© You Want Me to Cook?
Individual Banana Puddings - ingredients
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 medium bananas
24 Reduced Fat Nilla wafers, broken
Additional bananas and Reduced Fat Nilla wafers, optional

Ingredient Notes:
Half and Half – I considered using a fat-free half-and-half, but since pudding can be temper-mental and needs to thicken, I decided against it.

Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers – It has less calories (not by a lot) but a third of the fat and no cholesterol.

Equipment Needed:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Individual Banana Puddings - equipment
Bowl - small
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Ziploc bag
Rolling pin
Medium saucepan
2-cup Glass measuring cup
Glass Dish (small to medium) / 6 Ramekins
Plastic Wrap

Equipment Notes:
Small bowl – Use this to separate the egg yolks.  I like to do them separately to make sure each egg is okay before adding it to the pudding.

Ziploc bag and Rolling pin – It is the easiest way to crush the cookies without having to use a food processor or mini-chop.  It also keeps the mess in one place.  Since you have to separate the cookies for the layers, you can do the crushing in two batches

Glass measuring cup – I use glass since what I’m measuring is hot.  Just be sure the cup is at room temperature and not cold.  Introducing hot liquid into a cold glass can cause it to crack.

Glass Dish / Ramekins – Since I didn’t have ramekins, I used a glass dish that could hold 2 cups of pudding, 4 bananas and the crushed cookies.  It was a medium size dish that was deep.

(1)  Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium saucepan.

(2)  Gradually whisk in half-and-half, then yolks.

(3)  Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until pudding thickens and begins to boil, approximately 9-1/2 minutes.
I’m not sure why it took almost double the time to get it to thicken and boil, but it did.
(4)  Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla and whisk until butter has melted. Transfer to a 2-cup measuring cup that has a pouring spout.

(5)  Place a third of the bananas on the bottom of a glass dish (or divide amongst the on bottom of 6 4-oz. ramekins).

(6)  Spread 1/3 of pudding among cups over banana slices (or divide amongst the ramekins).

(7)  Top with half of the crushed Nilla wafers (or divide amongst the ramekins).

(8)  Repeat layers twice, ending with pudding.

(9)  Cover each dish, pressing plastic directly onto pudding. Chill for at least 2 hours.

(10)  Just before serving, top with additional banana slices and sprinkle with Nilla wafer crumbs, if desired.

It seemed like that pudding didn’t go very far.  I don’t know if it would have made a lot of difference if I was putting it into individual ramekins, but something tells me it still wouldn’t have gone as far.

The pudding was great when I first tried it.  However, after it had been in the refrigerator overnight, the bananas that were exposed were a little browned and it didn’t taste as good as it did fresh.  The “unexposed” areas still tasted pretty good, but some liquid had accumulated which was bitter so I had to be careful scooping out a serving.  It needed some fresh Nilla Wafers to give it a little texture since the ones in the pudding get soft (they are supposed to).  Finally, I put a little no-fat Cool Whip to finish it off to add a little more sweetness to the dish.

If I were to make any changes, I would:
  • Buy some ramekins to make the individual servings or press plastic wrap over leftovers so the bananas aren’t exposed to air (even though the dish was covered, I think it would make a difference).
  • Make double the pudding.  There didn’t seem to be enough.
  • I’d keep the Cool Whip in the recipe.  It really added something to the dessert.
Happy Cooking!!!

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