Tuesday, April 3, 2012
’Nana ’Nana Boo Boo. I have pudding... and you don’t.
Ever since she got her (autographed!) copy of The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, the Mistress has been itching to make ’Nana Puddin’, one of Cheryl and Griff’s signature desserts. She became acquainted with - nay, enamored of - the original when she lived a short walk from that dastardly place. Having moved away several years ago, she occasionally will find herself in the grip of a serious ’Nana Puddin’ Jones... and that’s one tough jones to satisfy when you’re far away from the Southland.
I can sympathize... and I am nothing if not an enabler. So I went and procured the necessaries.
’Nana Puddin’, for those who are Southern Impaired, is banana pudding. But it is more than a simple dessert. It is a cultural touchstone, a Local Speciality on a par with Israeli felafel or New England clam chowder. Understand ’Nana Puddin’ and you understand the South... at least a little bit.
It’s a pretty straightforward recipe. You make a vanilla custard, densify it with sweetened condensed milk, and leaven it with a little whipped cream. You layer the custard in a serving bowl (or individual dishes) with sliced bananas and cookies. You then bury the whole mess in fluffy meringue. Gaaaaah.
But this ’Nana Puddin’ diverges from the typical Southern version in its choice of cookie filler. Instead of the traditional Nabisco Nilla™ Wafers beloved of many, Back in the Day uses butter shortbread cookies, thus jacking up the Delicious Factor by a couple of orders of magnitude. And they substitute fresh whipped cream for the meringue.
Of course, easy as it might be to just buy a packet of Walker’s shortbread biscuits, that would not be in the Back in the Day spirit... so we made our own.
I do not recommend making this recipe. Ever. Especially, do not prepare it and let it sit in the fridge for a day, allowing the pudding to thicken and infiltrate the chunks of shortbread. Because then when you eat it, your head will explode... and that’s not a pleasant cleanup job to face.