Monday, May 25, 2015

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Banana Pudding

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where it appeared on February 24, 2014. Photo credit: Zaccrain at Morguefile.com...if you go to Morguefile and type "banana" into the search bar, you'll see about a dozen more ideas for ways to use up ripe bananas.)



When life hands us overripe bananas, we can make banana bread. A friend's fruit-eating offspring came home for a weekend and left her and her husband with far too much fruit, so she brought me some of the surplus...including five very ripe bananas.

I thought about making two batches of banana bread. I thought about a recipe I'd read in some magazine for frying bananas in butter and brown sugar. I did not want to add butter to bananas, which are fattening enough the way they are. I thought about a compromise between these two ideas...baked not fried...definitely not the classic Southern Banana Pudding, which is in the trifle family with layers of bananas, cookies, custard and sometimes other things, but more like an English Pudding, with a firm crust that holds its shape, yet still squidgy in the middle. So Grandma Bonnie Peters bought the gluten-free flour, and I bought the chocolate toffee bits, and we proceeded to experiment. And found the experiment good.

INGREDIENTS FOR GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE BANANA PUDDING

Baking spray

5 very ripe bananas 

2 tablespoons brown date sugar (for flavor, but if you don't like things too sweet you could use less sugar or none)

1-1/2 cups King Arthur Mill gluten-free flour (or similar rice/potato flour)

1-1/2 teaspoons Rumford's baking powder (or other baking powder)

Pinch of salt

Splash of water

1 bag Heath Chocolate Toffee Crunch Bits

METHOD FOR GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE BANANA PUDDING

1. Spray 9x9" square nonstick metal pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (medium, moderate).

2. Peel and string the bananas, remove any very brown spots, and cream the pulp. There will be 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups of banana pulp. Small lumps of banana are acceptable. Stir in the sugar. Break up any visible lumps of sugar.

3. Add 3/4 to 1 cup of flour with the baking powder and salt. (Sift them if yours are lumpy). Stir to form a stiff batter. Splash in the water. Add the rest of the flour. It should feel like a fairly firm cake batter, stiff enough to need to be coaxed into the pan with the spoon but liquid enough to spread itself over the pan.

4. Pour or sprinkle toffee bits over the top...use half the bag, the whole bag, or anything in between; leave about a half-inch margin.

5. Bake 25 minutes or until it leaves just a few moist crumbs on a butter knife. Turn off the heat and let it dry out in the closed oven while the oven cools, or while you eat a reasonable amount of vegetables.

6. Cut bars and eat warm. This recipe is likely to attract neighbor children if no children are in the house, but if there are any leftovers it will keep in the refrigerator or even freeze well.

I have not personally tested any variations, or even other brands of gluten-free flour. But the next time a local lurker offers me five or six ripe bananas all at once, I will.