Every holiday, and I mean just about every one on the calender, is a celebration for a certain dessert that might mean very little to some folks, but around my house, if it's not made, we are in trouble. I'm talking about Mary's Banana Pudding. Like I said, no matter the season, no matter the holiday, it's either on the dessert table or made to take to some other household. And like I said, if we don't we're in trouble. It's a cold, creamy custard type with ripe bananas and wafers suspended in the vanilla pudding base creating bliss with each mouthful. Sounds pretty good doesn't it but then there's the underlying tartness of sour cream that makes it shine above all other puddings if you ask me.
Now I have on many occasions had a bowl of hot banana pudding, some with mile-high meringue, some with dollops of whipped cream or off-the-charts ice creams and even one with a caramel bourbon sauce. Let me be clear when I say, I don't like hot banana pudding no matter how much you fancy it up.
This is about as close to a warm banana pudding dessert I declare to my liking. Served warmed, the soft and moist banana cake with the rolled oats and toasted coconut is just a delightful taste sensation all by itself, but then there is the vanilla wafer crumb crunchy topping that sends this into outer space. Of course, ya know me, taking a cue from those fancy hot puddings, I added a warm caramel sauce to take it into another orbit.
Banana Crumb Pudding Cake
2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy or cognac
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1 cup granola (with nuts and fruit is what I had on hand)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9-inch cake pan and put aside.
Make crumb topping by blending with a fork the butter into the sugar and spices and slowing mixing into the wafer crumbs. Stir in the granola and walnuts. I find it easily, and faster, to mix this with my hands incorporating all together uniformly. Put aside.
Mix the flour, leavening, salt and oats together in a bowl, put aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time mixing well. Beat in the vanilla and cognac. Mix in order the flour, buttermilk and mashed bananas alternating in three intervals. Scrape down the sides of the bowl during the last addition. Fold in the coconut with a spatula.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan, even out with the spatula and sprinkle the crumb topping on top. Even out the topping and lightly press down a bit forcing some into the cake batter.
Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until center tests done. (I still use a wooden skewer for the test) Remove from oven and let cool about 20 minutes before seving.
Easy Caramel Sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon brandy or cognac
In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in the water and cognac until smooth. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.