Our church choir traditionally has a Mardi Gras party with potluck. This is my first time since going gluten free. They are going to TRY making a gluten-free roux for the big pots of gumbo, and I struggled with what to bring as a dessert. Someone else was already making a quinoa salad, and I wanted to make something both gluten free and semi-traditional Cajun Mardi Gras dessert. I make a lot of Cajun food (well, since we are descended from the original Beausoleil of Louisiana, that scamp).
But desserts are not so much my thing. (Despite evidence to the contrary on this blog. I guess because I make desserts relatively rarely, I tend to make a big deal out of it when I do!) Most of the traditional Cajun food is really everyday fare. I make loads of rice pudding, for example, but that is breakfast in my mind, so I didn’t want to bring that and call it party food. The actual Mardi Gras party food type of desserts were mostly either way too much work for me, or hard to transport. After considerable digging, I found a recipe for a Banana Foster Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Sauce. Evidently this was originally from the magazine Bon Appetit, which also seems appropriate, n’est-ce pas? I didn’t want to make it with actual bread (those gluten free breads are EXPENSIVE), and quinoa is healthier anyway. So. With some fair amount of trepidation and experimentation and sheer fortitude, I decided to substantially modify the recipe to make this. It looks fabulous. I will know better how well it worked after the party. In the meantime, I don’t want to forget what I actually DID! So here it is.
BANANA FOSTER QUINOA PUDDING
(with optional Caramel Rum Sauce)
1 cup uncooked white quinoa
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bring ingredients to a full boil in a medium sized pot. Boil for three to five minutes, then remove from heat and set aside for either overnight or a couple hours.
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups half&half (or 1/2 cup each whipping cream and milk)
Beat together vigorously.
4 large “just ripe” sweet bananas
Peel. Carefully, slice lengthwise. Then slice crosswise in lengths of about 3 inches.
What I did for the caramel part in the pudding is a bit more complicated than most folk will want to do. I made the traditional “Cajun” boiled can my mama and grandma always made. This is done by taking a can of sweetened condensed milk, put it in a deep pan covered with water by several inches, and then boil it for at least seven hours. Yeah. Right. So, there is a simpler alternative.
Buy one can of Nestle’s La Lechadera. Take out half of the can of “dulce de leche”, and heat it gently in a small pan with just enough milk to make it possible to stir it. It should not be soupy, and it should not be gloppy or pasty.
In a well-buttered baking dish (I used a 9x13x2 ceramic dish), layer half the cinnamon quinoa. Take half the banana chunks (the less pretty ones), arrange on top of the quinoa layer, and press down into the quinoa. Spoon the caramel mixture over the bananas.
Add a second layer of cinnamon quinoa, with a second layer of bananas. The pretty ones, this time. Press them down into the quinoa gently until they disappear about halfway into the quinoa. Again, spoon the caramel mixture over the bananas.
Beat the custard mixture again, and then very carefully, slowly pour it over the quinoa-banana layers. There may be more custard than needed.
Bake at 350*F for one hour and ten minutes, or until the center is set (only jiggles slightly) and the edges have started to pull away from the pan.
The original recipe said it served 8 people. Wow, well, those must be awfully generous fotball-player size portions! I think it is more like 16 servings. You can serve with caramel rum sauce, or whipped cream, or both, or neither.
For the Caramel Rum Sauce instructions, see the original recipe at Chik’N'Pastry.
My Name is Puddin’ Tain: http://chiknpastry.com/2009/10/my-name-is-puddin-tain/
And with that, I am off to a party!