Archive for the ‘Dairy-free’ Category

I have work to do! Woohoo!

The bad news: I have work to do. This weather makes me want to just sip this back in bed under the reassuring weight of the covers. (Bye-diddly-ho…zzzz… )

Make this version if you don’t want milk for any reason.


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Here's to you, Mom

Here's to you, Mom

About ten years ago, I almost accidentally committed matricide on Mother’s Day weekend with a little innocent dessert called Banana Cream Pudding.

I had made my mother dinner—I don’t remember the main course—but she had been quite hungry waiting for the entree, and although she is a teensy weensy 5 ft. 2 in., she can Hoover up an impressive amount of food in a short span of time. Kinda like that guy who wins the Nathan’s hot dog eating contests all the time.  So she ate really quickly, then also ate the banana cream pudding really quickly, too. I think she even had seconds. I was happy that she liked it that much.

BUT: She woke me up in the middle of the night and claimed she had to go to the hospital because her stomach hurt. I floored it to the emergency room, because there’s no worse sign than a nurse who is so crippled by pain that she can’t self-medicate.

I don’t remember the exact diagnosis, but I do recall sitting in the waiting room thinking that the milk content in the dessert and the amount she consumed had something to do with her ailment.  Asians are notoriously lactose-intolerant, and though it is a marvel of human adaptation/evolution that my sister and I aren’t (we grew up with milk), most people in my parents’ generation don’t touch the stuff. Mom would have some ice cream now and then, and she has a weakness for tres leches cake, but those amounts she usually consumes were an iota compared to the heaps of banana cream pudding she had that night.  My oversight, but she was thankfully okay by dawn.

Now she is more healthy and robust than ever (with an appetite to match), so this year I set out to redeem myself by making it dairy-free, with soymilk pudding to sub for the pastry cream base, and meringue to sub for the whipped cream. It’s doesn’t have the richness and the mouthfeel as the original, but it’s a worthy substitute. The nutty-ness of the soymilk complements the bananas well. And the Nilla, well, it’s not banana pudding without it, despite my kvetching, but you can make it with a regular pie crust or graham crackers.

It started as a tarte/pie, but nothing worked out to plan: the crust got smashed in transit, and the meringue didn’t take (it was very humid on Saturday). Someone told me Mercury was in retrograde [insert your own fist-shaking at Mercury here], but if there was anything being in kitchens taught me, it’s to go with the flow and be resourceful, so I just plated it freestyle. Plus moms are inherently forgiving, so mine excused the appearance. You’re the best, Mom!

Nilla-wafer Crust/Crumbs:

Crush about 7-8 ounces of Nilla wafers. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Combine together, and line the mixture in a pie pan if you’re doing the pie version. If not, flatten it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

Soymilk Pudding: (I adapted this recipe from a site online but it has since disappeared into the cyberspace ether! Will link when I find it.)

Mix together the following in a small pot: 1/3 cup sugar, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 1/8 tsp salt. In a bowl, combine 2 cups of soymilk, 1 large egg, and half of a vanilla pod with the seeds scraped.  Gradually add the soymilk mixture into the pot and whisk well to get out lumps. Cook over medium heat, whisking occassionally, until it boils and thickens. Cool. Fish out the vanilla pod (and save it for this).

Vanilla Soymilk Pudding

To assemble: Once cooled, spread the soymilk pudding into the pie shell. Line the surface with about 1-2 medium-size ripe bananas. Or build layers in a parfait glass or a clear bowl: crumbs, pudding, bananas. Repeat.

Banana! Banana!

I had planned on decorating it pretty with meringue on top, so I didn’t worry too much about pretty arrangement. Little did I know I should have just made pudding cups! In hindsight, as the whole combo turned out a tad too sweet, I wouldn’t make meringue for it again, but would try this as a decorative topper.

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