Monday, June 11, 2012

Banana Brownie Custard Cups

When I was wee, one of the simple desserts that my Nana (and perhaps my Mum) used to make was Bananas and Custard. Nana had a lot of really simple dishes that were in her regular rotation, and most of my food memories come from her. Usually, the custard came out of a box or a tin. Ambrosia Devonshire Custard and Birds Eye Custard are both fairly strong staples in the English home. I'm generally not a supporter of things Banana-related. When I was a child, I was sick and had banana flavor medicine which I frequently threw back up again. Medicine trauma aside, I always liked this dessert. There wasn't much to it, sliced bananas over custard, lots of pale yellows. It was easy.

A couple of days ago, I was seeking comfort food, so I whipped up a batch of custard. Since it's not as common here, I made it from scratch which is incredibly simple and takes about 7 minutes. I made some extra and stored it in the fridge. Later that day, I was doing a clean out of my freezer, which I frequently do as it gets a bit ridiculous in there sometimes. I stumbled across a container of brownie crumbles. I had made Dark Chocolate Brownies a couple of weeks ago and crumbled them up to use as topping at a little ice cream birthday party we had had at work. I had leftovers so I popped them in the freezer. Lightning struck my brain and my simple Bananas and Custard evolved into Banana Brownie Custard Cups. I layered the brownie crumbles with the bananas and custard like a trifle.

I dug my spoon in. Heaven. The combination of the brownie crumbles, rich and chocolate with a little texture and some heartiness against the creamy sweet custard, with fresh banana as both a taste and texture contrast. I should have been doing this for years. It's delicious and decadent and rich. Yesterday it was the perfect pick me up in the middle of a yucky day, part homey comfort food, part new indulgence.

Banana Brownie Custard Cups

I use a mix of milk and heavy cream in my custard because I only ever have non-fat milk in the house. You could probably substitute a cup of whole milk for the cream and milk mixture that I have here.

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup Non-Fat Milk
2 Egg Yolks
3/4 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
2 Brownies, crumbled (here is my recipe for brownies)
1 Banana, just ripened, sliced

In a small saucepan, mix the egg yolks and sugar together. Add the vanilla, then the cornstarch. Mix together well with a whisk. In a measuring jug or other vessel, mix together the milk and cream. Pour a little into the egg mixture and turn the heat on very low. Slowly add the milk mixture, stirring all the while until it is all added. Turn the heat up to medium and stir frequently, if not the bottom may burn. The mixture will be very thin at first, and then all of a sudden it will start to thicken up quickly, somewhere around the 5 minute mark.  When it's thickened, remove from heat and set it aside to cool.

Crumble up your brownies and slice your bananas. In a glass of your choice, layer some brownies crumbles, then spoon over a tablespoon or two of custard, then a single layer of bananas. Repeat twice, giving you three full layers. For the top layer, do a final layer of custard, then decorate with a few brownie sprinkles and a single slice of banana.

You can make these ahead of time and refrigerate them if you like. The brownies will soak up some moisture from the custard and then when you dig in, it'll be almost mousse-like.

Makes two really big desserts, which honestly might need to be shared!

If you want to eat this my Nana's way, slice half a banana and place in the bottom of a bowl. Cover with about 1/3rd cup of hot custard, throw a couple more banana slices on top, eat with a spoon and savor the simplicity.

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