Sometimes the stars align and things come together in a way that's even better than you could hope for. Boston Cream pie is one of those recipes that I always planned to make. The photo on the cover of Greg Patent's book, Baking in America, has been calling to me for years. So when Alex looked at me the other day and said "I think it's time for cake. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting." I countered with Boston Cream Pie. He agreed and then looked at the ripening bananas on the counter and said how about banana pudding instead of pastry cream. There was no need to twist my arm.
Banana pudding is another one of those iconic desserts. Traditionally it's made with vanilla pudding layered with Nilla wafers and sliced bananas. The flavor of the fruit permeates the pudding, the cookies soften and everything slowly melds together into a desert that is greater than the sum of its parts. I always wanted a true banana pudding, with the flavor of real bananas and without the perish-ability of layers of fruit. Brown slices of banana are never inviting unless they are brown from being caramelized with sugar or roasted into golden brown deliciousness. In order to make a banana pudding that wasn't oxidized brown I needed a cooked banana base to build upon.
I remembered our banana jam recipe from a few years back and adapted that to cook down my ripe bananas for the pudding. I used a combination of yuzu juice and water instead of yuzu and lime juices because that's what I had. Even orange juice would work because you're mostly looking for some acid and a different type of sweetness to round out the banana flavor.
To make the pudding, I started with the chocolate pudding recipe from our book. I substituted the jam for the chocolate in our pudding recipe, making a few other small adjustments, and the banana pudding was born. You could put it between layers of sponge cake and ice it with ganache or you could just eat it in a bowl with a little bit of whipped cream and be perfectly happy. It's happiness in a bowl.
4 large egg yolks
36 grams / 6 tablespoons tapioca flour
100 grams/ 1/2 cup sugar
260 grams/ 1 cup heavy cream
520 grams/ 2 cups milk
4.5 grams/ 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 grams/ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340 grams/12 ounces banana jam
Put the egg yolks, tapioca flour and sugar in a blender and blend on low speed until they form a light colored paste. Turn off the blender.
Combine the cream, milk, salt and vanilla in a medium pot set over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat. Turn the blender back on low and carefully pour in the hot dairy mixture. Increase the speed to medium and blend for 30 seconds. It will thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the banana jam and blend until just combined, about 10 seconds more. Strain the pudding into a serving bowl or 6 individual pudding dishes and let it cool to room temperature before transferring the pudding to the refrigerator to cool completely, about 4 hours. To avoid a skin press a layer of plastic wrap or parchment paper to surface of the pudding before letting it cool.