Homemade cookies make the difference in this modern version of the soul-food classic. It's helpful to use a silicone liner, such as a Silpat, to bake the tuiles.
The pudding can be made ahead and refrigerated (without the diced bananas; add them right before you assemble the dessert). The cookies can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Servings: 18 tuiles or 6 napoleons
- For the pudding
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 firm bananas
- For the tuiles
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
- For assembly
- 2 firm bananas
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
For the pudding: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, egg yolk and cornstarch.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining 2 cups of milk and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar to a low boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the milk-cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, until the custard is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat. Strain the custard through a medium strainer into a bowl, then whisk in the vanilla extract and the butter. Cut the bananas into 1/2-inch dice, then fold the pieces into the custard. Cover and refrigerate until set; there should be about 3 cups.
For the tuiles: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together, then add the melted butter and vanilla extract, stirring to combine. Add the flour and mix well. Working in batches, spread 1 tablespoon of the cookie batter in a thin circle about 4 inches in diameter; leave at least a 1-inch margin between cookies. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes, until the cookies are light brown. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool. There should be 18 cookies total.
To assemble: Use 3 tuiles for each serving. Slice the bananas on the diagonal. Place 1 cookie on each plate and place 2 slices of banana on top. Then spoon 1/4 cup of the banana pudding over the bananas. Repeat and top with the third cookie. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.
Adapted from "New Soul Cooking: Updating a Cuisine Rich in Flavor and Tradition," by Tanya Holland (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2003).
Tested by Geneva Collins.
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