Tahoe-Truckee recipe: Mother’s Day Banana Pudding with a Hawaiian flair
TRUCKEE, Calif. — It has come to my attention that all moms love banana pudding and I have a theory as to why this is so: banana baby food. This is where the cravings all started.
How many times did I catch my mom flying that little spoon (vrooom!) of banana baby food into her own mouth instead of my brother’s? Too many times to count.
I also noticed when she was stocking up on those little Gerber jars, the ratio was something like five banana purées for every other selection. Yes, I was onto her.
It was her favorite and it is a wonder my brother didn’t grow up with a major potassium deficiency as a direct result of her pilfering of the banana baby food for her own enjoyment. Of course, babies don’t stay babies forever and once my brother moved onto solids my mom had to find her banana pudding elsewhere.
For some reason, this was one thing my dad, an excellent cook, never made, and my poor mom was forced to wait for outings to Haiku Gardens on the Windward side of Oahu or flights on Cathay Pacific, both of whom served a mean banana pudding.
Then Haiku Gardens went out of business and my dad started booking travel on Northwest Airlines due to his mileage program and the responsibility fell to me to meet my mom’s banana pudding needs.
So I got busy, did my homework, called up the former chef of Haiku Gardens who was now working at Tahitian Lanai, and voila! Banana pudding and mom’s sanity were restored to the household — almost.
Keep in mind this banana pudding is awesome and my brother made up for lost banana time whenever it was served so, really, keeping mom in banana pudding became a full-time job.
That, my friends, is a gentle warning to you. You can make your the matriarch of the family happy this Mother’s Day – thrilled in fact – with banana pudding! But she will want it again. And again. And again. Are you up to the challenge?
Yes, you are. You love her.
Tahitian Lanai Banana Pudding Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 large eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
50 vanilla wafers
4 large ripe bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/3 cup shaved or grated good dark chocolate (The Tahitian Lanai topped theirs with shredded coconut, but I like it with chocolate.)
In a large saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking and stirring two more minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk your eggs. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into eggs and then return all to your set aside pan, whisking constantly. Return pan to stove and, on medium heat, bring mixture to a gentle boil all the while stirring while cooking, about two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In an ungreased, 8-inch square baking dish, layer 25 vanilla wafers, half of the banana slices and half of the pudding. Repeat with another layer exactly the same. Smooth down surface of pudding and then press plastic wrap onto this smooth surface and refrigerate for at least four hours. Sprinkle on chocolate shavings just before serving.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your favorite family recipes and the story behind them at email@example.com.