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.