Sheri Castle’s Salted Caramel Banana Pudding
Banana pudding is my favorite Southern dessert that isn’t pound cake. Among my pudding principles are an insistence on homemade custard and a strong belief that there is no need for extraneous additions or embellishments. Having said that, I stand behind the addition of a little salted caramel—especially when it is so easy to make the caramel in a multicooker. I like Biscoff cookies in place of traditional ’Nilla wafers, but use the cookie that speaks to you.
Individual servings assembled in drinking glasses or jars are quite cute, and everyone enjoys a dessert that doesn’t have to be shared, but you can assemble one large pudding in a 2-quart dish if you prefer. A larger dish might require more cookies.
5 large egg yolks
1. Whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
2. Warm the milk in the pot on sauté low just until it begins to steam; do not let it boil. Whisk about ½ cup of the warm milk into the egg mixture to temper the eggs and then whisk the tempered egg mixture into the pot.
3. Cook the custard while stirring slowly and constantly with a heatproof spatula until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula, 3 to 4 minutes. The pot is slightly domed in the center, so make sure you get the spatula into the deeper edges. Turn off the heat. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until smooth.
4. To assemble the puddings, spoon warm custard into six 8-ounce straight-sided glasses or jars to a depth of about ½ inch. Stand 3 Biscoff cookies around the inside of each glass; the custard will help hold them upright.
5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of Salted Caramel into each glass. Cover with a layer of banana slices. Top with the remaining custard, dividing it evenly among the glasses. Top with more banana slices, if desired. Serve now while still slightly warm, or let cool for 10 minutes, cover each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled. For the best texture, serve within a day, before the bananas darken.
HINT: The perfect bananas for this dish are yellow all over with a light freckling of brown spots.
This dulce de leche–style caramel begins with a can of sweetened condensed milk that caramelizes to the color of amber in a water bath inside the multicooker. Some cooks place the can of condensed milk directly in the multicooker, but I prefer to pour it into a wide-mouth jar or glass bowl that fits inside the pot. This recipe yields twice as much salted caramel needed to make the Salted Caramel Banana Pudding, but it keeps well for up to a month. You can make up to four batches at once if you need even more caramel, perhaps for gifting (or for yourself, at the end of a hard day). Pour each can of sweetened condensed milk into its own jar and cook them all at the same time. Be sure to arrange the jars on the metal trivet so that their sides don’t touch.
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1. Pour the condensed milk into a wide-mouth pint jar (or glass bowl) and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Set the jar on a metal trivet with handles and lower them into the pot. Add water to the pot to come halfway up the sides of the jar.
2. Cover and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Let stand for natural release of the pressure. Remove the jar from the pot and uncover.
3. Add the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk vigorously until smooth.
4. Serve warm or let cool to room temperature and then cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.