My first foray into creating the treasure that is alcoholic banana pudding got off to a rough start. I spilled a heartbreaking about of rum all over the kitchen floor. I considered throwing a splash of coke down there too and grabbing a straw but the cats were super interested and the last thing I need is a couple of drunk cats. They already puke everywhere so I’m pretty confident they’d be terrible drunks.
So, I sadly mopped up the rum with a kitchen towel and then washed the floor in order to prevent that “stickiness” that glues your shoes to the floors in your favorite seedy college bars. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. I went to University of Maryland back when the Vous was still the popular place to hang out (it no longer exists) BUT you only wore your “Vous-shoes” which were dedicated to that bar’s disgusting floor. It felt like you were walking around on fly paper in there. And you kept your “Vous-shoes” somewhere outside of your dwelling. They ether lived in a plastic bag hanging out of your dorm window or under the deck of your sorority house or somewhere else in order to prevent contamination of the rest of your clothes and shoes with the odor of stale beer, vomit, and fraternity boy pheromones. My point is that I got it all cleaned up and so you (or I) won’t stick to the kitchen floor.
Despite the sadness of losing so much delicious rum to the floor, I knew the rum would want me to carry on and so I got to work on the project at hand. The first step in alcoholic banana pudding is to soak the bananas in alcohol overnight. I sliced the bananas and added the vanilla beans and sugar and then tossed them into a casserole dish with a healthy amount of rum. I was worried that the bananas would turn brown but I told myself that there was enough acid in the rum to prevent it. After all, if I drank as much rum as I put on those bananas, I’d surely pickle my liver and have heartburn for at least a week.
When I eagerly opened the refrigerator the next morning to retrieve my beautiful drunk bananas I found what can only be described as some very ugly drunk bananas. It was like reverse beer goggles. The bananas were drunk and I was a little disgusted. Yes, they turned brown. Very brown. And while brown is a beautiful color it just doesn’t suit a banana.
I sulked as I picked one off the top and tried it. Despite its less than dapper appearance, it was tasty. So, as I contemplated my options, I grabbed another…and another…and another…and before I knew it I was half sloshed. But when I looked down, a magical thing had occurred. I’d eaten off most of the top layers of bananas (and was totally buzzed already) and realized the bottom layers in the dish looked…okay. Not beautiful but okay. I momentarily questioned whether my perception that these bananas didn’t look completely unappetizing was due to my now-alcohol-impaired judgment but I decided not to complicate matters by asking for another opinion. I decided I’d better get cooking before my rum-goggles wore off.
I gathered the ingredients to make the banana pudding per the directions on the side of the Nilla Wafer box and realized…they had replaced the banana pudding recipe with some ridiculous other dessert. Way to go Nabisco. You nearly ruined alcoholic banana pudding. I had to find the recipe online using my iPhone and because I was cooking with eggs while by brain was rum-saturated, my phone may very well be carrying salmonella now. If the CDC shows up to confiscate my phone, you owe me Nabisco! Luckily very few people ever lick my phone so thus far we can trace no illnesses to it.
Once the recipe was located, I began determining what steps I’d need to take to counter the un-sweetness of the alcohol. I added an extra quarter cup of sugar to the custard. I also doubled the amount of sugar in the meringue. Finally instead of doing each layer a total of three times, I ran out of bananas because
I someone ate a ton of them while constructing the pudding. So, there were only two of each layer in the final dish but it turned out surprisingly tasty.
However, I was hesitant to trust my own judgment given the fact that I was
essentially wrecked tipsy on a Sunday….before noon. (I’m sure my parents are soooo proud). So, I invited the next door neighbor Donna over to be taste tester number one and she gave it rave reviews. I asked her if it needed to be sweeter and she insisted that despite the fact that she could really taste the alcohol, it was just perfect. So, if you are willing to trust drunk-me and sober-Donna, you’re welcome to try it. I’ll definitely be making it again.
However, be warned, it doesn’t keep so well. Since the bananas are already kind of on the downhill slide in the soft department after being soaked overnight, I’d only make it for a party or something where I’m pretty confident there are enough
of my lush friends diners to ensure no leftovers survive. Next time I also plan to soak the bananas in something more like a jar-like and less dish-like so that I have less surface area. I want the bananas to stay submerged in the rum since those that were exposed to air turned brown. I might even try soaking the bananas whole and slice them after soaking to help reduce the sogginess. And finally, my personal hero, Alton Brown recently aired a banana pudding episode of Good Eats where he insists on homemade cookies as opposed to store-bought vanilla wafers. While I personally really like the store-bought wafers, I am curious to try this at some point to see which I prefer.
One last word of warning: this dish is NOT for the kiddos. The “baking” part of the pudding is just long enough to brown the meringue on top. So, there’s no chance of cooking out the alcohol. You can taste it so use a rum that YOU like and keep this one away from the kids. Plus, I presume that kids (like cats) are terrible drunks. Nobody wants that. I have written a helpful blog about non-alcoholic banana pudding here in case you like your kids and don’t want children’s services showing up to remove them from your custody.
(No cats or children were harmed in the making of this dessert)