Summer is officially here and even though summer comes with many sweaty woes, but as my fellow blogger Gayatri pointed out summer does come with its biggest perks- stone fruits! Mangoes, plums, lychees, cherries, peaches and the like. Which invariably means- pies, cobblers, jams and of course ice cream!
In my last post I mentioned about our trip to the indian store. Besides getting fenugreek leaves, I also brought home some lychees.
I took some time to like lychees. Probably because they require a lot of effort to eat. Peeling the skin and then spitting out the seed. As kids, our summer vacations were always at my grandparents house in Jalandhar, Punjab. My cousin sister would also spend her summer there with us. She and I have a ten year age difference and I looked up to her as a big sister, which meant I would imitate her habits quite a bit. If she ate musk melon, cut in half like a bowl, that’s how I started eating it. She is also the reason why I started eating lychees. She loves them and my grandfather would stock the fridge with lots of lychees during season. So when she got some for herself, she would share with me and even though I found it a lot of effort I slowly started eating and then eventually liking them.
Let’s be honest. I only got Sweeter off the Vine for Yossy Arefi’s photographs. I follow her on instagram and love all her pictures. So I kind of already knew I would like this book.
I love baking with fruits and if you do too, this book is a gem. The book is categorized into different seasons and baking with fruits available during these seasons. Of course the fruit available will depend on the place you stay and these days some fruits are available throughout the year but the book focuses on seasonal fruits and baking with them, which I love.
The Spring section has herbs, rhubarb, strawberries and cherries based recipes. Summer uses apricots, mixed berries, melons, stone fruits, raspberries and figs. Grapes, permissons, pomegranates, apples, pears, quince, squash and pumpkins feature in fall recipes. And winter has recipes using cranberries, citrus and dates.
So this Banana Trifle Pudding is like my go-to, easy, no-fail recipe for a dessert that is a sure shot way to impress company or just yourself. You know, because sometimes you need that reinforcement that you are just awesome.
Its basically a vanilla cake, slathered with a generous serving of spiked up custard, a little jam, toasted walnuts and a layer of bananas, followed by the layers being repeated and then the whole thing topped with whipped cream. Delicious and no frills whipped cream.
The beauty of this dessert is the variations that could follow. You could play with the jam used. Raspberry pairs well with banana, but I have used blueberry crush as well and had amazing results. I have also used the cheap, ration brand of jam which is overtly sweet with an awful texture and I would otherwise not go near but mix it with some orange juice to add a little tang to the jam and its sweetness is reduced and the taste very much acceptable. And in the dessert a welcome ingredient.
Custard is a must, but you could make the pudding more of a banoffee by also using a little dulce de leche or a butterscotch sauce (the dulce de leche, I speak from experience, tastes heavenly). I used the powdered custard, since thats easy and less complicated. In India, there’s a brand Brown & Polson that makes it. I used the package instructions to make a free flowing custard. It was a vanilla flavored custard powder but I added some banana flavoring to it as well, for good measure. But, for true gastro-geeks go ahead make the real thing. But do add some cognac, or rum, or brandy. Because, spiked up is always better. You could also use Baileys. I have done that too. And I have not been disappointed. But then its Baileys, how can anybody be disappointed??
You could add caramelized walnuts, or just plain toasted walnuts, or just plain walnuts for an extra crunch to the dessert. Or if walnuts are not your thing, then I suggest chocolate chips, or chocolate shavings, or forget putting the chocolate in the dessert and eat it instead. I know the last option speaks to you the most. It speaks to me too.