Banana pudding is the creamy, soothing treat that Southern grandmas and aunts across the region prepare for their families. Creating individual parfaits makes for a pretty presentation, and it feels like a custom present when served after a dinner party. However, you can also layer these ingredients in an 8-inch square baking dish. The kick of moonshine is a nice way to add some spice and character to whipped cream.
Make the custard
To bloom the gelatin, sprinkle it over the surface of 1/4 cup cold water; set aside until the water has been absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.
Combine the heavy cream, vanilla bean, half of the sugar, and the salt
in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the
mixture comes to a simmer.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and remaining sugar. Temper the yolks by whisking in a third of the hot cream mixture. Whisk the tempered egg mixture into the remaining hot cream and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add the bloomed gelatin and mix well. Mix in the banana puree and lemon juice. Transfer the custard to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface, and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Assemble the parfaits
Toss the banana slices with the yogurt and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Crush the vanilla wafers slightly.
Whip the cream, sugar, and moonshine in an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the parfaits, spread a small amount of the chilled pudding in the bottom of your dessert bowls or parfait glasses. Cover with a layer of broken vanilla wafers (you’ll probably use 5 to 7 wafers for each parfait, depending on how much texture you want), followed by a layer of banana slices. Spoon more of the pudding on top of the bananas and repeat, ending in a layer of pudding. Top the parfaits with a dollop of whipped cream and a whole vanilla wafer or two. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours before serving.
Photo: Chris Granger