The Best Banana Pudding Recipe

The Best Banana Pudding Recipe

If you’ve never had good old fashioned Banana Pudding then you are seriously missing out!  This creamy dessert is so popular that there’s even a 2 day festival in hour of it.  I kid you not; there’s a National Banana Pudding Festival the first week of October in Centerville, Tennessee!

It’s generally associated with the Southern part of the United States but it’s popular in all parts of the country.  It’s not really known exactly how the dessert became a Southern Icon but it’s been a Southern specialty since the 1940’s if not longer.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding is pretty similar to the English Trifle in that it’s layers of creamy custard, fruit, and a soft spongy cookie which can be topped if desired with a dollop of whipped cream, or in some homes meringue.

This iconic dessert was further popularized by the Nabisco company when it published the recipe on the box of every Nabisco brand Nilla Wafers, which of course is featured as Wone of the key ingredients.

So back to the beginning, if  you’ve never had good Old Fashioned Banana Pudding you’re missing out.  So to rectify that here’s  a recipe for this yummy dessert.  And no instant Banana Pudding from a box doesn’t count!

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. Flour

1 Cup Sugar

1/4 Tsp. Salt

4 Cups Whole Milk

4 Egg Yolks

1 Tsp. Vanilla

4-5 Ripe Bananas

1 Box Vanilla Wafers (the Nabisco brand are called Nilla Wafers)

Directions:

Whisk flour, sugar, salt, milk, egg yolks, and vanilla in a saucepan.

Cook on medium heat about 15 – 20 minutes or until thick.  Keep stirring mixture as it cooks so it won’t scorch and stick to the pan.

Remove from  heat.

Layer vanilla wafers in the bottom of a dish or bowl.

Add a layer of banana slices, one on each wager works well.

Pour 1/2 of  pudding over the layers.

Repeat a layer of wafers and bananas on top of the pudding layer.

Pour the other half of the pudding over that new layer.

Top with crushed wafers if desired.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing

Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing

I recently found myself with several over ripe bananas and leftover Buttermilk.  I know over ripe bananas usually mean a batch or two of Banana Bread, but I still had a few loaves in the freezer.  Besides I wasn’t in the mood for Banana Bread.

I was however in the mood for cake!  So why not bake some banana cupcakes?  Then I remember that a local bakery sold this yummy banana cake with Chantilly Icing.  I think Chantilly icing must a a local Hawaii favorite because the recipe isn’t too easy to come by.

You might be wondering what Chantilly Icing is.  Well it’s sort of hard to describe, it’s sweet, creamy, and buttery; kind of but not quite like the frosting on a German Chocolate cake.

In Hawaii Chantilly icing is used on Chantilly Cake which is very similar to a German Chocolate Cake but with macadamia nuts instead of coconut flakes.  It’s also used to top Liliha Bakery’s Coco Puffs, those delectable chocolate cream filled puffs. It’s also used on Banana Cake!

So to make these really yummy Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing I used 2 different recipes.  The Banana Cake recipe and a recipe for that delicious Chantilly Frosting.  The frosting I made was more than enough to ice the cupcakes.  I refrigerated the leftover frosting and used them on a chocolate cake a few days later.

Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Butter, softened to room temperature

2 Cups Sugar

3 Eggs

1 Tsp. Vanilla

1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 Very Ripe Bananas, mashed

2 Tsp. Lemon Juice

3 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda

1/4 Tsp. Salt

1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees

Line Cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.

Beat in vanilla and cinnamon.

Add lemon juice to mashed bananas and stir until smooth.

Add to butter mixture.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together.

Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture.

Mix well.

Pour batter into cupcake wraps about 3/4 full.

Smooth tops.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool.

Frost when completely cooled.

Chantilly Icing

Ingredients:

1 2/3 Cup Butter

1 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk

1 1/2 Cup Baker’s or Caster Sugar

2 Tsp. Vannilla

2 Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

2 Tbs. Corn Starch

Directions:

Melt Butter in saucepan over medium low heat.

Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Whisk in milk, sugar, and vanilla.

Then whisk in eggs and yolks one at a time.

Cook on medium hear until it comes to s low boil.  Whisking is it intermittently.

Once it boils cook for another 2 minutes continuing to whisk intermittently.

Remove from heat then quickly sift in cornstarch while whisking.  Whisk cornstarch quickly and hard to prevent it from lumping.

Pour into a shallow bowl and cool to room temp.

Cover and refrigerate about 3 hours or until it’s in a spreadable consistency.

Frost cooled  cupcakes.


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Homemade Steamed Bao Buns

Homemade Steamed Bao Buns

Bao, bau, baozi, mantou, bakpoa, paoare, siopao, or humbow; you probably know them best as Steamed Buns or Boa Buns.  They’re those soft fluffy white pockets filled with a sweet or savory filling.

Baos or whatever you call them originated in Northern China where wheat instead of rice is widely grown.  They’ve been around for hundreds of years.  Legend has it that Baos originated during the Three Kingdom Period when a Chinese general needed to cross a raging river with his army.  To ensure safe crossing the people on the other side of the river demanded that the general sever the head of 50 men; instead the general used large meat filled dough balls which satisfied the demand.

Meat filled bao buns have always been a favorite in the Philippines where they are called Siopao, they’re also popular in Hawaii where they’re known as Manapua.  Both places have a large Chinese  population who introduced this delicacy many years ago.  In fact many countries with large Chinese communities have a version of this popular food.  Recently their popularity has increased worldwide.

Baos can be shaped into balls, as they were in the legend, or they can be folded like taco shells.  They can be filled with your favorite savory meats such as char siu or sweet roast pork, pork belly, and chicken curry; or they can be filled with sweets such as black bean paste, taro, or custard.

One of my favorite bao fillings is  Korean Fried Chicken, crispy fried chicken bites dipped in a sweet and spicy sauce garnished with fresh chopped cilantro, sliced onions, and cucumbers.

Click here for the Korean Fried Chicken recipe!

Another favorite filling is Boneless Kalbi Short Ribs, thin slices of beef short ribs marinated in a sweet and salty sauce.  Then grilled and garnished with fresh green onions and sesame seeds.

Click here for the Boneless Kalbi Short Ribs recipe! 

 

But first things first, before you can fill steamed buns you must make them.  To make homemade buns you will need a steamer, I use bamboo steamer baskets, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  Other than that making steamed buns are pretty easy using ingredients that are readily available if you don’t already have them in your kitchen.

So let’s make bao buns, then you can fill them with just about anything you desire.

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Bao Buns – Steamed Buns

Ingredients:

3 3/4 Cups flour

2 Tbs. Sugar

2 Tsp. Instant Yeast

3 Tbs. Milk

3/4 Warm water

3 Tbs. Butter – softened

1 Tbs. Olive Oil

Directions:

Mix together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your standing mixer or a large bowl if kneading by hand.

Place warm water and milk in a separate bowl, stir in butter until it melts.

Using the dough hook of your mixer gradually stir liquid into flour mixtures.

Knead for 10 minutes either in your mixer or by hand.

Turn dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or towel.  Leave in a warm spot until dough doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Once dough has doubled in size turn out onto a floured surface.  Gently knead dough for a couple of minutes then cut into 20 pieces which you will roll into balls.

Roll each ball with a rolling pin into an oval shape about 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.

Place on parchment paper while  you roll the rest of the balls.

Brush dough ovals with olive oil.

Place a chopstick in the middle of the dough oval and fold over.  It should now be shaped like a taco shell with a space in the fold where the chopstick is.  The oiled surface should be inside of the fold.

Slip chopstick out, place on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, and fold the rest of the ovals.

Cover pan with plastic wrap or towel making sure plastic doesn’t touch the dough as it will stick.

Leave to rise for another hour.

When dough has risen bring water in large pot or wok to a boil.  Place about 3-4 buns into a steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes.

Remove steamed buns from steamer basket and keep it on a plate in the oven to keep warm.

Fill and serve!


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Cheesy Ensaymada – Filipino Brioche

Cheesy Ensaymada – Filipino Brioche

Ensaymada is one of my favorite Filipino treats.  It has been a popular Filipino roll for over 4 centuries ever since it was adapted from the Spanish pastry called Ensaimada which originated is Mallorca, Spain.

There or many versions of this Filipino roll which like a brioche is sweet and fluffy.  Many bakeries specialize in this yummy pastry, a couple of my favorites are Goldilocks and Red Ribbon.  Unlike the brioche which has no topping Ensaymadas are slathered in butter, dipped in sugar and sprinkled with cheese, in many cases “queso de bola” the Filipino name for Edam.

Since it’s a family favorite it’s no wonder that the aunties have their own favorite recipe.  In fact there are one or two aunties who are known for making Ensaymada, a treat which they bring to most family gatherings.

But one can’t rely on the aunties to make this favorite roll, specially since we all live so far apart.  That’s why I’ve started making Ensaymada at home, using auntie’s recipe of course!

The ensaymada dough is rolled and placed into tart pans, it’s the best way to ensure uniform size and shape.  I use these 5″ aluminum tart pans I buy from Amazon.  I’ve found it was the least expensive way to buy them.  And of course being Asian I wash and reuse them!

If I can’t find Edam cheese I use grated cheddar cheese instead.  The other ingredients are things you probably already have in the pantry and fridge.  It also calls for a dozen egg yolks, I know you’re left trying to figure out what to do with the egg whites!  How about making Pavlovas?  Here’s my Pavlova recipe, it’s definitely worth a try!

The Ensaymada recipe is pretty easy, but it does take several hours because the dough has to rise.  I usually start early in the morning and am done sometime in the afternoon, depending on how fast the dough rises.  I use the dough hook on my stand mixer to knead the dough, but you can also knead it by hand.

Homemade Ensaymada may take time and patience, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Cheesy Ensaymada

Ingredients:

1 Cup Warm Water

2 Tbs. Sugar

2 Tbs. Yeast

8 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Cup Whole Milk

1 Cup Sugar

12 Egg Yolks

1 Cup Butter softened

24 Tsp. Grated Edam

Topping:

1 Stick Butter softened

1/2 Cup Sugar

Grated Edam

Directions:

Mix Warm Water, 2 Tbs. sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl.

Let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes, it should be foamy.

Add 1 Cup of flour to yeast mixture and mix well.

Let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, set your timer so it doesn’t over rise.

Add milk, 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, and butter to the yeast mixture, mix well.

Add remaining 7 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time.  Mix well between additions.

Knead dough until flour is all combined, do not over knead.

Divide dough into 24 balls working 1 tsp. cheese into each ball.

Flatten each ball with a rolling pin to about 1/2″ thick then roll into a cigar shape that’s about 10″ long rope.

Coil rope into each tart pan.

Place in a warm place and let rise for 3-4 hour.  Top of roll will be above tart pan rim.

Pre-heat over to 325 degrees. Once it reaches temperature wait 10 minutes then put ensaymada in the over.  (I place tart pans on a large baking sheet and slide the whole sheet in the oven.

Bake 7 Minutes then rotate pan 180 degrees and bake for another 7 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Remove from pans and brush tops with softened butter.

Dip each roll in sugar then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Wrap each roll in plastic wrap.

Rolls may be frozen by placing wrapped rolls in a freezer bag.  Warm frozen rolls in microwave for about 1 minute.

They are delicious for breakfast!


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Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

Asian restaurants specializing in Korean Fried Chicken seem to be popular these days.  Bonchon Chicken, a franchise from South Korea has opened over 100 restaurants around the country.

So what is Korean Fried Chicken and how does it differ from other fried chicken?  Korean Fried Chicken or KFC as it’s known to some is chicken that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  But what sets it apart is that sticky sweet and spicy sauce it’s dipped in.  It really is delicious!

If one were to travel to South Korea you’d find many fast food joints dedicated to this dish; each one touting their own special sauce.  But traveling to South Korea, or just about anywhere right now, doesn’t seem to be a realistic option for many of us.  So as I’ve been sharing some of my favorite foods from all over the world.  In short bringing home the flavors and memories of my travels.  Today I’ll share a recipe for Korean Fried Chicken, my family says it tastes just like the real stuff!

This recipe takes a bit more effort to make and probably a trip to the Asian Market for a couple of the ingredients, but believe me it’s well worth the effort.  In an absolute pinch if you can’t find Goochujang Paste, the Korean Chili Paste, you can substitute Sriracha chili sauce or a Thai Chili Paste, it will be close but not the same.

The recipe is divided in 4 stages; the marinade, the coating, the sauce, and the garnish.  You can make the sauce ahead of time and reheat just before serving.  To maintain the crispiness chicken should be served as soon as it’s fried, it looses the crispness as it cools.  I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but boneless skinless breasts can be used as well.

Korean Fried Chicken

Ingredients:
The Marinade:

6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into bite size chunks

1 Cup Buttermilk

1 Tsp. Salt

1/2 Tsp. White Pepper

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

The Coating:

1 1/2 Cup flour

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp. Chili Flakes

Oil for frying

The Sauce:

2 Tbs. Gochujang Paste

2 Tbs. Honey

4 Tbs. Brown Sugar

4 Tbs. Soy Sauce

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

2 Tsp. Minced Giner

1 Tbs. Vegetable Oil

1 Tbs. Sesame Oil

Garnish:

1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbs. White Sesame Seeds

1 Tbs. Black Sesame Seeds

1/2 Small onion thinly sliced

Directions:

Mix Marinade ingredients together and pour into a Ziplock bag.

Add chicken and coat with the marinade.

Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a large pan of vegetable oil, make sure you have about 2 inches of oil in the pan.

Mix the coating in a bowl.

Lift pieces of chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip off.

Drop into the hot oil until it’s cooked.  Coating should be deep golden brown and if you cut a piece of chicken in half the meat should not be pink.

Drain cooked pieces of chicken on paper towels and keep warm until all the chicken has been fried and the sauce is done.

Place all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and stir.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Place cooked chicken into a large bowl, pour sauce over it and gently tossed until all chicken pieces are coated with sauce.

Move to serving dish and garnish with cilantro, onions, and sesame seeds.

Served with steamed white rice and Stir Fried Baby Bok Choi this dish is amazing!

 

 

 

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