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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Wildflower

Hello, dear friends!  Today is Gigi's birthday! Yes, my middle child turns 26 years old.
Gigi is an old soul in a young body.  I call her my wildflower, because she is beautiful, pristine, bohemian, laid back, and the biggest music lover ever.  Ask her anything about music:  blues, classic rock, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and the list goes on and on.  Should I say she is also a fan of the Golden Girls?
She is a great listener and a great friend.  I am so proud of her and I love her so much.
Gigi is a no fuss type of gal, so when it comes to her birthday cake, well, she doesn't want one.  She prefers a banana pudding pie, so I made her one and here it is.



                                                                   My daughter, Gigi






                                                      Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie


courtesy of Ann Thorton
Ingredients:                                           Yield: 1 (9 - inch) pie


1 box vanilla wafers

3/4 stick butter, melted

3 large ripe bananas

1 teaspoon fleur de sel

1 cup homemade caramel, recipe follows

Vanilla pudding, recipe follows

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Put vanilla wafers in food processor until finely crushed.  Reserve 1/2 cup to layer in and top pie.  Pour remaining crumbs in a 9 inch pie plate.  Pour melted butter and combine with crumbs.  Press mixture in the bottom and sides of plate.  Bake until lightly brown, about 12 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely.
Peel and slice bananas, adding them them to a bowl.  Stir salt into the caramel sauce and toss banana slices with the salted caramel.  (remember you will only use one cup of caramel sauce) Arrange some banana slices over the bottom of pie crust.  Spread the warm vanilla pudding over bananas, top with some of the reserved wafers.  Add remaining caramel coated bananas and spread remaining vanilla pudding over top.  Place pie in refrigerator for a couple of hours.
In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Add almond extract and sugar until peaks form.  Spread whipped cream over the pie.  Just before serving, garnish with caramel and the rest of crushed vanilla wafers.

Caramel sauce:      Yield: 3 cups
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Note:  When making caramel sauce, stay close to pot, because it goes from caramel to burnt quickly.  Definitely, not the time time to be looking at Facebook!


Directions:
Combine sugar and 1/3 cup water in medium heavy saucepan.  This is the only time you can stir the sugar.  Place saucepan over medium to low heat until sugar dissolves, about 5-10 minutes.  Turn heat up to medium high and cook until the sugar starts to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.  Do not stir while this is happening.  Be careful, mixture is very hot.
Turn off heat and stand back to avoid splattering.  Slowly, add cream and stir until well combined.
Simmer over low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Let cool to room temperature; it will become smooth.

Vanilla Pudding
3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

4 egg yolks

2 large eggs

2 cups whole milk, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour until lumps are gone.  Whisk in egg yolks and whole eggs until a smooth paste is formed.  Slowly whisk in 1 cup milk; incorporate well and add remaining cup milk. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it reaches thickness of chilled pudding, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir.


Enjoy



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