Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions around food–to cut out processed sugar, to reduce salt, to have meatless Mondays and a host of others. Some food practices I’d like to encourage in the new year include preparing more dishes from scratch with as many whole ingredients as possible and to cook as often as possible with loved ones. Such practices will encourage us to slow down and be more present, will make us more conscious of what we are putting into our bodies, and will create space and time to bond with our loved ones.
On New Year’s Day, I prepared the traditional pot of black eyed peas for good luck in 2014, a pot of garlicky kale, and a cast iron skillet of corn bread. For dessert, my older daughter, Yetunde, and I made one of our favorites–banana pudding. She preferred the tasks of juicing the lemon, slicing bananas, and layering the cookies and banana slices while I prepared the pudding.
After trying out some vegan versions that called for cornstarch and deciding we did not like the gel like texture that results, we opted to use flour as a thickening agent instead. The overall results were delicious.
Yetunde’s Yummy Vegan Banana Pudding
juice of a whole lemon
4 just-ripened bananas
box of vegan vanilla wafers (Madagascar is such a brand.)
3 Tablespoons flour
2 3/4 to 3 cups Almond Breeze almond milk (Depending on how thick the pudding becomes, slowly add in the last 1/4 cup of almond milk.)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar in the Raw
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon brandy or rum
dash of sea salt
Directions: For the pudding, melt the “butter” over medium heat. With a wooden spoon completely mix in flour. Add almond milk and gently whisk until the “milk” and flour mixture are thoroughly combined. There should be no lumps. Turn the heat up and continue to whisk as the mixture thickens. When it thickens, add the sugar, vanilla extract, brandy or rum, and dash of salt. Continue to whisk for about five more minutes. If the mixture begins to boil over, reduce the heat. While layering the cookies and bananas in the next part of the recipe, let the pudding simmer on the lowest possible setting but be sure to check on and stir the pudding frequently.
In a medium bowl, pour the juice of a whole lemon. Slice bananas about ¼ inch thick. Gently stir the sliced bananas until the slices are coated with lemon juice. The lemon juice will inhibit the browning of the bananas. (The excess juice will not be used in the recipe.)
To assemble the banana pudding, use a 1-1/2-qt, 9″ x 5″ x 3″, glass pyrex dish or a similar dish. Cover the bottom with a layer of cookies, flat side of cookies facing down. Then, place a layer of bananas, then another layer of cookies. Then, spoon a generous layer of the pudding mixture. Make sure there are no dry cookies or any dry crevices. Repeat layering with bananas, then cookies, then pudding, until all of the bananas, cookies and pudding have been used.
Let the dish cool down for about 45 minutes. I love eating it at this point. Or, when the dish has completely cooled, cover, refrigerate, and enjoy cold.