Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ginger Caramel Banana Pudding

One of my favorite websites, www.food52.com, recently picked Coconut Cajeta Chocolate Fondue as a winner in a recipe contest. For good reason. This recipe is fantastic. The plain coconut milk cajeta became a quick staple in my kitchen the last few weeks, but no use for it has inspired me so thoroughly as adding it to my banana pudding. Ginger Caramel Banana Pudding is born: gluten-free, dairy-free, and all-delicious.

I like to make my own ginger snaps, but Trader Joe’s also has a great gluten-free ginger snap that’s a good substitute if you don’t have the time or resources to make them homemade. I’ve also included my recipe for vanilla wafers, which are what I used in this recipe originally.

But it’s hard to go back, once you’ve gingered this pudding!


Ginger Caramel Banana Pudding
Ginger Caramel Banana Pudding
Makes 8 servings

Pudding:
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup water

1/2 cup white sugar
1/8 teas sea salt
1 whole egg
3 eggs, separated (reserve egg whites for the meringue)
3 cups soy milk, regular milk, or other non-dairy substitute

Trader Joe's ginger snaps
3/4 teas vanilla
1 batch coconut milk cajeta (see below)

2-3 dozen ginger snaps (see below)
3 large bananas, peeled, threaded, and sliced

Meringue:
3 egg whites (reserved from the pudding)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Separate the top and bottom parts of a double boiler. Fill the bottom part with water to its fill line. Heat the water to boiling, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water to form a thick liquid. In the top of the double boiler, combine the sugar and salt, mixing well. Stir in the whole egg, the 3 egg yolks, and the soy milk. Add the cornstarch mixture. Mix well.

Place the top of the double boiler over the bottom and bring the pudding to a simmer over low heat, stirring almost constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes. When the mixture is smooth and thickened, remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and coconut caramel.

Spread about 1/4 cup of the pudding in an ovenproof casserole dish. Arrange a dozen ginger snaps on top of the pudding. Place a third of the sliced bananas on top of the wafers. Cover the bananas with pudding and repeat the layering process until all the pudding, bananas, and ginger snaps have been used.
Layer of pudding, layer of ginger snaps
Layer of sliced banana
Layer of pudding, keep going!
Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the meringue, place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed for 1 minute until the mixture is foamy. Slowly add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and all the sugar is dissolved (2 to 4 minutes). Do not underbeat. Beat in the vanilla. Spoon the meringue over the pudding, spreading the meringue to the edges of the casserole dish to completely cover all of the pudding. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the meringue is a light golden-brown on the peaks.
Pile on meringue, then bake
Coconut Caramel (cajeta)

1 can coconut milk (14 fluid oz.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt

Combine coconut milk, sugar, and sea salt in a sauce pot. Warm until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat up to medium high and simmer about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until significantly reduced and thickened. Sauce should be a deep fawn color and easily coat a spoon. Cool before using. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Ginger Snaps
Makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegan butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum or white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Vanilla sugar for dipping

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg, molasses, and fresh ginger.
Pile flours on top of wet ingredients, mashing in baking soda and spices to prevent lumps. Mix together until dough is uniform.

Cover cookie sheets in parchment paper. Form dough into 1-inch balls, dip one side into vanilla sugar, and place sugar-side up on parchment. Use your palm or the bottom of a glass to flatten into rounds. Allow ample room on sheet for growth. Bake 6-8 minutes, until cookies are crisp at edges. Cool on wire racks.

Vanilla Wafers
Makes 4 dozen

1/2 cup real salted or vegan butter, softened
1 cup vanilla sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (splash more if desired)
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat in vanilla, then beat in the egg. Combine dry ingredients, mashing out any lumps in baking powder. Stir into wet mixture until dough is uniform and moderately stiff. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Leave about 2 inches of room between cookies, as they will grow a fair bit.

Bake at 350F for 8 minutes. Edges will be golden brown, but tops will be light in color (unlike the store-bought cookies). Be careful not to over-bake. Cook on a wire rack before using in banana pudding, or dipping in melted dark chocolate.

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