Monday, April 5, 2010

Baked Banana Custard

So remember those egg yolks left over from yesterday's Angel Food cupcakes? I so had a plan for them. Then I came into the kitchen this morning and realized that, in addition to six egg yolks, I also had four of these:

Hmmm.... I really didn't feel like making my original plan AND something banana-y. I mean, I love to bake and we all love to eat, but there really is a limit to how many baked goods we really need in the house at one time. So it was time to change the plan. When looking for recipes involving both bananas and egg yolks, the most common result, at least for me, was banana cream pie. Which is good, but not at all what I wanted. Then I found this, a baked banana custard that didn't just throw sliced bananas into a vanilla custard, and thought it looked pretty good. I actually found that exact same recipe posted in three different locations. So I figured it was worth a shot.

I normally stick to a recipe exactly as it is written the first time I make it, but I did take a couple of small liberties with this one. The recipe called for breadcrumbs to be sprinkled onto the mashed bananas, and I decided to swap out the breadcrumbs with nilla wafer crumbs, which little miss was more than happy to help me make. I mean, how often do I tell her to smash cookies with a rolling pin?

The next thing I changed was that I added a vanilla bean to the milk when heating it up. I split the bean, put the seeds into the milk, then put the whole pod into the milk, too, but fished it out once the milk was warm enough. I love vanilla, I had the beans... why not?

While the milk was warming, we gave the bananas a spin in the mini-blender, sqeezed in the juice of one lime, sprinkled in a touch of nutmeg, and added some sugar. The banana mixture was put into the bottom of the dish and sprinkled with our nilla wafer crumbs.

The next step was the one I was a little worried about. We beat the egg yolks with some sugar, then it was time to combine them with the hot milk. Which meant that I had to temper the eggs, so as not to wind up with scrambled eggs. This just requires a slow hand pouring and a quick hand mixing, as well as a bit of patience, just to make sure I don't add too much hot to the eggs too quickly. Little miss was fascinated by both the process and the explanation as to why I was doing it, which was pretty cool. Milk and eggs successfully incorporated, this mixture was them poured on top of the bananas and cookie crumbs. I probably should have poured a little more slowly, but I had an awkward grip on the pot handle, so I went a little quickly, but I don't think that was too much of a problem. Sunk the crumbs in the center of the dish, but I am not wholly convinced that that wouldn't have happened anyway...

The only problem I had with the recipe was that I wasn't quite sure how long this was supposed to stay in the oven. The recipes all just said "bake until custard is set." I started with 25 minutes and kept going from there... by about 45 minutes, it looked pretty good, and, when I gently slid a knife into the center, it wasn't soupy, so I figured we were good to go. After letting it cool for a few minutes (while I did the dinner dishes), I served up a couple of bowls. The first serving did not come out pretty. It fell apart and was very watery. Weird. The second piece came out much more nicely, but I was still surprised by how watery the dish seemed - not the custard itself, but the dish - like water was leaking from the custard into it. It tasted good, but I was confused. So much so that I actually popped it back into the oven, just to see what would happen. The answer was, not much. The custard is definitely set, but it still let off more water than I expected. I don't know if that is just the nature of custard, if it has to do with the bananas, or if I did something wrong... If anyone knows, please share!

Anyway, that aside, this was yummy, and definitely a good way to use up both must-use ingredients at once.


  1. Cool!Yummy! And I witnessed part of it! Not that I know ANYTHING about baking... but did you use less than whole milk? I notice sometimes when I make something more eggy or custardy that if I use 1% I get some "extra water". Just thought I'd throw it out there.

  2. Good call! I used 2%... that definitely might be the culprit!


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