Although our trip to Haiti wasn’t about food, we had hoped to reflect some Haitian flavors in this week’s post. Plantains, for example, are ubiquitous. You can’t drive for ten minutes in the Central Plateau without passing fields of what look like bananas that fell asleep downstream from the nuclear power plant and woke up with anger management issues and a family resemblance to the Hulk. Baskets piled high with green behemoths are a common feature at every market. At some point we’ll do a piece on green plantains, which we ate every day, but we reserved this last post in our current series on pressure cooking for dessert–and green plantains have no place in a dessert.*
Ergo, Steamed Coconut, Banana and Lime Bread Pudding.
It’s easy, it’s fast, and if you’re concerned about authenticity, coconuts and limes are also common in Haiti. It’s also crazy delicious. Plus, if you master Jody’s technique for opening a coconut with nothing but a chef’s knife and health insurance (just kidding, it’s safe, no really, it’s safe) you’ll walk away feeling empowered. Maybe even like you earned that wicked bowl of bread pudding. I’ll get back to you with a plantain dessert when ours ripen, probably sometime around the Fourth of July in 2014. Enjoy. Ken
*I had hoped to discover some cunning technique for speeding up the ripening process, something along the lines of “Put one guava and a cow horn filled with goat dung in a bag with three green plantains and they’ll turn black in 5 days.” No such luck. If you know one, please comment.
STEAMED COCONUT, BANANA, LIME BREAD PUDDING
Makes 6 servings, less if you’re greedy.
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 whole large egg
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 cup almond milk (See notes)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Zest of 1 lime
- 3 cups stale bread cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup toasted coconut flakes (See notes)
- 1 cup ripe banana slices
- 1 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
- Put the egg yolks with the whole egg and sour cream in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the sugar, almond milk, salt, vanilla and lime zest beat again.
- Stir in the bread cubes, coconut and banana. Let sit 1 hour.
- Butter a 4-cup souffle dish well.
- Make a triple layer of aluminum foil that will generously cover the souffle dish. Butter a circle in the center that will keep pudding from sticking to it.
- Dump the pudding into the dish. Cover with aluminum foil leaving a bit of puff at the top for expansion. Tie a string around the top of the dish holding the foil tightly against the dish to keep the moisture away from the pudding. Using a heavy strip of folded foil, lower the dish onto a trivet inside the pressure cooker. Add water to come one-third of the way up the side of the dish. Bring the pressure to high, then lower the heat to just maintain the high pressure. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Use the quick release method bring down the pressure.
- Carefully lift the pudding out of the pressure cooker. Remove the foil and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Run under the broiler to brown the top.
In a sense, this is a leftovers dish – what to do when you’ve got too many ripe bananas and some stale bread. Okay, you might have to run out for the coconut, but it’s not the end of the world.
If you’re in a hurry, you can alway buy a bag of shaved coconut, but I used a fresh coconut. I held it over a bowl with a sieve and whacked it crosswise with THE BACK of a large chef ‘s knife, creating an equatorial crack. Do this once and you’ll never hesitate to buy a whole coconut again. I let the coconut water to flow through the sieve into the bowl. I got about 3 tablespoons, which I substituted for an equal amount of almond milk. Then I separated the two halves and pried the meat out of the shell. I almost never bother removing the dark outer layer – it doesn’t affect the flavor and I like the color. If you prefer your coconut pure white, use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer. You’ll get about 1 cup of grated coconut from each half.
I love the combination of coconut, banana and lime. We added one other Haitian flavor to gild the lily when we served this – rum. We served it warm, with rum ice cream. I know, next week it’s back to the gym.
Go ahead, click on something to see the steps in more detail. Left and right arrow keys will move you through the photos.
Now you’re talkin’.
Hi, Donna–You probably have most of this stuff growing in your back yard. Ken
Yep, this could be called Palawan Pudding, with the substitution of kalamansi for limes, and maybe a sprinkling of toasted cashews.
While we were in Haiti we encountered a couple of unusual “sour orange” things (the name escapes me), so I’m curious what’s kalamansi? Ken
They are a small citrus, smaller than a ping pong ball. I’ve seen trees in the U.S called ‘calamondin.’ Usually sold green here, though when ripened long enough they turn orange. Ubiquitous here in juices, shakes, squeezed over dishes. We love the flavor – something between a lemon and a lime. The only downside is they are labor intensive to squeeze because of the small size.
Sound a bit like key limes in terms of the labor involved. Thanks for the info – one more item for the bucket menu. Ken
LOVE your description of the angry plantains! Recipe sounds delicious, planning on making it this weekend!
Let us know how it goes. I actually like cold, leftover bread pudding (a little dense, I know) with a splash of cream over it. No such luck in this case. Nothing left to refrigerate. Ken
Oh. My. God. You have no idea how badly I want to make this recipe this weekend. I don’t have a pressure cooker, though. Could I make this in the oven and still get all the deliciousness promised by your photos?
I think so, with some fiddling. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the recipe the same way up to the point where you dump it into the dish (we used a 1 quart soufflé dish). Put the dish in a deep-side roasting pan and add enough water to come halfway up the dish containing the bread pudding. You’re using a water bath to make sure the eggs don’t cook at too high a temperature and become hard. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about for 45 – 60 minutes, keeping an eye on the top to make sure it’s not burning. If you use a shallower dish it will cook faster. In order to get the crusty caramelized top, especially if you use the water bath, you may need to do the same thing we did – sprinkle the cooked bread pudding with sugar and run it under the broiler for a minute or two. Good luck. Ken
Thank you for this troubleshooting. I can’t wait to make it. If it turns out, I’ll post about the recipe and give you and Jody due credit!
Great! Make sure to take pictures! Ken
I really do not know why I do this to myself….I am up two pounds after Andrea’s wedding and then I read this post….It’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting myself into afteralll….What I am going to do is use this is my culinary fantasy until I lose the two pounds…but then what should I do???????
Absolutely divine and no way I could recreate it……Cheers to you, you lucky two…..
So, do you feel like you’re sailing in calmer waters? Two pounds? That’s nothing! Here’s what you do – go buy the plantains now, and then when you lose the weight they’ll be ripe! There’s a cruel irony in that the more sophisticated your palate becomes the more difficult it is to lose the weight. Good luck. Ken
I’m almost more impressed with that foil hammock than with the coconut opening! Sounds absolutely delicious. I think I’ve said this every week, but I’ll say it again: Must. Get. Pressure cooker.
When I looked at the photos I said to myself, “It’s not as though we’re conserving the earth’s resources with this recipe.” I think there’s a trivet that you can get that has long narrow wireframe handles so you don’t have to go through the sling business. Buy the pc just for beets, carrots and short-grain brown rice. The coconut thing is cool, by the way, as impressive in front of guests as taking the neck off a champagne bottle. Ken
Wow the Pudding looks interesting I must admit. I have never made Puddings before and I am a bit scared of making them. Having said that I could happily tuck into a bowl of this delicious pudding baked by you guys ofcourse :)
Bread pudding isn’t a Mumbai thing? On the other hand, if you have a lot of great sweet rice dishes, why would you need bread? Bread pudding is great, as long as it’s steamed, or baked (preferably at a 350 degrees or lower, so the custard doesn’t become tough). Caramel, sugar, nut, raisins or dried cranberries – they can all, in one way or another, figure into it. Give it a try – if you look at my response above I explain how to do it without a pressure cooker. Ken
Ken I had a lot of Bread pudding when I lived in Uk and I loved it :) will give it a try and see how I go
wow. this looks so good. and the photos are beautiful. jeez now i need to buy a pressure cooker.
Mimi–You already have a raclette melter. I would have thought you’d have had two by now. :-) Even without making bread pudding, we love ours. Ken
Well, I actually own three raclette makers! (for large groups!) But no, I definitely need a pressure cooker. Can you recommend an exact make and model?
We own two Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers – an 8 qt. and a 5 qt. The large one is 20 years old and still rocking. I bought it because I was making things in quantity. At the time K-R was definitely the top of the line. In the two decades since, that has definitely changed. K-R is still considered very good, but one of the design changes in many PCs is to make the pot wider and shallower, which makes browning meat or vegetables before pressure cooking them easier. Here’s a link to a Cook’s Illustrated article showing their testing results. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment/overview.asp?docid=41600
Top choice is around $280. #2, Highly recommended, is is only $110. The article’s full of valuable info. If I were going to do it again, I”d probably spring for one of these. Good luck. Ken
Oh wonderful! Thank you for the info!
Call me crazy, but what about coconut lime banana rum…ice cream?
Sounds great! Ice cream is on the horizon (this summer). Thanks for the suggestion. Ken
Thanks for your instructions on making in the oven – the only pressure cooker I have is one for canning, which is huge and buried in the basement – in MA. I may have to break down and buy one after all of your great recipes!
Look at my reply above for recommendations. Besides, if you spend all your free time biking you definitely need a pressure cooker for your limited amount of time in the kitchen. ;-) Ken
My mother had a pressure cooker as a wedding gift. Are they still made? I recall it was a serious cooking instrument as a child. Pudding sounds grand….
Ha! Yes, they’re still made. Look at my exchange with Mimi (above) for info about models–and some of the design updates. To say they’re handy is an understatement. Ken
Amazing combination. Now I know what to do with my collapsed bananas, thank you.
Hi, Sophie–In your case, you should make banana bread, then serve slices with some of your bergamot marmelade. But thanks. Ken
A georgous & very appetizing alternative bread & butter pudding! I love your twist way better! yummm!
Hi, Sophie–Thanks! You know, for one second there you had me wondering, Is this a non-dairy recipe? (I know you do a lot of gluten-free and vegan stuff.) Then I checked and saw we used sour cream, so by “alternative” you meant just that, an “alternative.” Thanks for the compliment. Ken
Just finished making this and am greedily scarfing it down. Thanks for the idea! Had to resort to shredded coconut when it turned out the whole coconut we recently bought was rotten, so I suppose the texture is less meaty than it might have been. I also subbed in some coconut sugar I happened across while at Savenor’s — I had no idea such things existed, but seeing as it presented itself it seemed like the right thing to do. I drizzled the finished dessert with some rum, which is tasty, but am thinking next time it might do to mix some rum and sugar together before the finishing broil. What do you think?
Sounds good, but I’ve never done it. The only thing that concerns me is the probability of it igniting, which you don’t want it to do in the oven (you’d then have to remove it before the sugar melted). I suppose you could let the rum soak in, then sprinkle on the sugar, but you’re going to end up with a whole different animal. Here are two alternatives: You could take the crêpe suzette approach, in which you melt some butter, add some lime juice, a little sugar and then booze–light it, let the alcohol burn off–BE VERY CAREFUL–and you’d have a rum lime butter sauce. Another possibility would be to make a rum and lime crême anglaise–this would be my choice if I wanted a real sauce. Ken
Lovely recipe Ken. I just made an Indian style bread pudding this evening and came across this. This looks very interesting and flavorful. Going to try it soon :-)
Better get out your running shoes. :) Ken
That’s the idea :-) On my way out.
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hi- this looks so good, going to try this weekend! BTW: can you tell me where you got your bowls-? They are just beautiful…