Monday, August 31, 2009
When it comes to Elvis and food, undoubtedly you're going to think of his famous favorite sandwich, comprised of peanut butter, fried bacon, banana, and (depending on who you ask) honey, all nestled between slices of white bread and prepared in a griddle, grilled cheese style.
I know. With a dish like that associated with your name, you practically don't need to do anything else in life.
But Elvis did.
Not only did he give us a plethora of musical hits and aforementioned sandwich, but as part of his legacy he also gave us an intensely creamy, meringue-topped banana pudding. Apparently, it was part of the Graceland doctrine that a batch this pudding be prepared nightly; as rumor has it, the King would mash up various pills in it (although if they were a pick-me-up or come-down, I don't know). Of course, I learned this all from the best possible source: a postcard from Graceland from one of my oldest friends.
A banana pudding so craveable immediately had me intrigued, and of course I made up a batch right away. I cut the original recipe in half and omitted the meringue topping (the egg whites can be frozen for later use); it seemed to work out fine, and yielded an unbelievably creamy and rich pudding. While I think I still prefer the Magnolia Bakery banana pudding, this one definitely wins points for its rich history and taste.
Elvis's Banana Pudding (With Some Liberties Taken)
- 2 large (or three small) ripe bananas
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/8 lb butter
- 3 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- About half a box of Nilla Wafers
1. In a large saucepan, mix together the milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and butter and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens (for me, this was about 25 minutes--but you've got to be watching it the whole time). Add vanilla.
2. In a medium (9x13 inch) pyrex pan or similarly sized baking pan, layer the bananas and wafers.
3. Pour the pudding over the bananas and wafers.
4. If you want to add the meringue topping: beat the egg whites with 4 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Cover the pudding with the meringue.
5. With or without meringue, bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
* As a serving note, it's lovely served in a parfait glass with a thick dollop of whipped cream.