Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I'm Bananas About This!

I got this craving for banana cream pie over the weekend, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was the banana pie filling that I was craving. It’s important not to question these cravings, but to sometimes just hang on for the ride, which is exactly what I did. And what a fun ride this turned out to be! Banana pie filling led to parfaits which led to layers of chocolate chips which led me to that little bowl of egg whites (leftover from the filling) sitting forlornly on the sink, possibly destined for the drain.
Heck, no! No way was I throwing out any part of the chicken's eggs, so, of course, that led to meringue. And that led me to pull out my crème brulee torch from the back of the pantry, and well, that led to the rather delectable dish of goodness up there in the photo and some creamy, dreamy spoonfuls of banana cream pudding and chocolate parfait deliciousness.

The end.  Here's the recipe...

Banana Cream Meringue Parfaits

¾ c. sugar
¼ c. cornstarch
2 ½ c. milk
1 tbsp. banana extract
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
¼ tsp. salt
3 egg yolks (reserve the whites)
3 bananas, sliced
1 c. mini chocolate chips

For the meringue:
3 egg whites
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
¼ c. sugar

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Gradually stir in the milk and cook until mixture thickens, about 11 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in the extract, salt and egg yolks until smooth. Place the pan back over heat, bring back to a simmer and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook for 1 more minute. Be sure wooden spoon touches the bottom of the pan when stirring. Remove from heat; stir in butter and set aside.
Place some of the banana pudding in the bottom of each parfait glass and top with a layer of sliced bananas and then cover the bananas with a layer of chocolate chips.  Top that with more of the pudding and a few more slices of banana.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium bowl and using an electric mixer begin beating them.  As they thicken, slowly add the sugar, and then continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Spoon the meringue on top of the parfaits, making sure to seal the edges so it doesn't shrink back.  You may use a blow torch to caramelize the meringue, or if you are using oven-safe dishes, you can do this under the broiler.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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