Nuts over bananas, bananas over nuts.

After a long and involved working week, I was feeling a little hysterical from exhaustion and had promptly sworn off any type of kitchen activity during my mid-week weekend. Afterall, there was also that long-standing To Do list to consider as well : Get a haircut, buy wood chips for smoking chocolate, treat myself to some Winter shopping, reread Laurie Colwin, watch The Wire.

However, once I had a good sleep, I was itching the next day to get stuck into fulfilling my promise to cook some freezer meals for B. For the rest of the week, he now has chicken curry, mushroom and barley risotto and chunky pumpkin, chorizo and tomato stew options, all arranged tetris-like in our tiny freezer.

I never did get round to buying wood chips though, so that’s one thing I can’t scratch off the To Do list. Not only that, but my favourite hairdresser is still overseas touring Europe with his brother, and as for shopping? Well, these days, my piglet toes tend to squeal in anything more involved than work clogs or sneakers. A sad prospect, for the fancy heels I have long coveted and a sad future, for the ones I have acquired, now left dwindling in shoe boxes and cloth bags, during what should be the prime of their partying life (and don’t get me started on my collection of handbags!). I didn’t even manage to find The Wire amongst our collection to watch, but I did get started on Laurie Colwin, which made me want to cook even more.

Back into the kitchen I went, to play around with an idea that had been simmering around in my mind. It was originally about chocolate and peanuts, but I couldn’t resist throwing a bunch of organic bananas into the mix as well. What resulted was : milk chocolate and peanut butter mousse, banana custard wafers, peanut cookies, peanut powder and peanut milk.

The banana custard wafer had some cocoa spots on it, in an attempt to mimic the look of banana skin (it probably didn’t really convince, but hey, it’s my kitchen, I’ll do what I want! – Can you just imagine Eric Cartman saying that if he ever became a Chef?). I shaped the peanut cookies to look like the halved peanuts that I also used as a garnish. The cookies are an adaptation of Alice Medrich’s Sesame Coins. If you love the flavour of sesame and tahini paste, you absolutely must try her recipe. Like their sesame counterparts, the peanut cookies were incredibly tender and so melt-in-your-mouth it was like putting a teaspoon of pure peanut butter in your mouth (without that overly cloying feeling).

The end result was by no means a perfect dish. It could do with a little more tweaking, admittedly, but unfortunately I have already mentally moved on from it, so it will have to stay in the back burner for the time being.

Since the above dessert was a one-plate wonder, I gathered the leftover ingredients and made a batch of sticky banana and chocolate puddings to have with warm custard this evening. Baking puddings are a cinch. Anyone should try their hand at them, especially now the chill has descended upon us and nothing will really do after dinner except for a hot cup of tea and a bowl of pudding. Even when you are the type who usually has nothing but a bottle of white wine and a bar of chocolate in your fridge (to paraphrase Laurie Colwin), the bottle doubles as a handy rolling pin substitute (for pastry puddings) and the chocolate can be consumed when the frustration of baking gets too much to handle.

This is a boldly moist pudding that should be served with any of the following pudding weapons, which are guaranteed to conquer even the most outrageously sized puddings : custard, cream, ice-cream or toffee sauce. It is for all those occasions when life is too short for anything but.

Anyone else in the southern hemisphere feel like having pudding these past days? I urge you to whip out your dariole moulds, and trusty recipes. To serve, unmould the warm pudding, and top with your weapon of choice.

30 Comments »

  1. linda said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

    I so love your style of composing desserts! It look so very beautiful. Lovely combination of flavours too.
    Cartman came to mind when I read: I do what I won’t ha ha!

  2. The Caked Crusader said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

    Wow – that looks like a “fancy restaurant” dessert!
    I think we should all channel the spirit of Cartman once in a while…..

  3. Christie @ fig&cherry said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

    There’s no way I could eat that delectable masterpiece without a major guilt attack. Again, my jaw is open. I’m especially fond of your peanut powder – I’d dip a finger into the chocolate sauce and then drag my it across the plate to collect it all…. Yes, I’m very lady-like ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Lisa said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

    You are not alone in wanting pudding! Yours look delicious. You have inspired me to try one soon ๐Ÿ™‚ The peanut dessert also looks fantastic!!

  5. Miri said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

    Y, this is truly a work of art you made there! Looks wonderful!

  6. Aran said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

    that’s simply beautiful… and i happen to love those flavors. fabulous!

  7. Thanh said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

    The plated dessert looks great. I feel like pudding too. I think I’m going to attempt to make my first ever pudding in a simple banana pudding. My weapon of choice would be ice cream for sure.

  8. Patricia Scarpin said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

    So wonderfully served. I love the mix of textures!

  9. lee said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

    Amazing. Yes.

  10. prettytastycakes said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 1:39 am

    this is just gorgeous. a work of art!

  11. Hรฉlรจne said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 3:54 am

    This looks so cute.

  12. Lorraine E said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 9:41 am

    DAYUM, that is one gorgeous dessert! Ahhh ok I see why you work at Pier and how I have no chance to do so ever lol

  13. Vera said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

    What a fabulous dessert! And so beautifully presented!

  14. grace said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

    sticky banana and chocolate pudding. sweet fancy moses, that sounds delicious. speaking of fancy, your plating skills are out of this world. are you available as a personal chef? ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. giz said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 6:25 am

    My my – and let me just say it again. The top presentation is dynamite and love your flavour combos.

  16. Sophie said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

    What a gorgeous little dessert, and I really like how you used the leftovers to make another dessert! So creative! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. courtney said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

    That a serious artistic dessert you concoted. Nice to see banannas in a more elegant dessert rather than the usuual.

  18. Christy said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

    “Anyone else in the southern hemisphere feel like having pudding these past days?”
    I do! I do! Yumm…warm banana pudding made moist with toffee sauce…rich and perfect for the bone-chilling cold winter we are having in Melbourne..

    So your dessert has milk chocolate and peanut butter mousse, banana custard wafers, peanut cookies, peanut powder and peanut milk. What’s not to love??

  19. Cakelaw said,

    July 13, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

    Y, the “one plate wonder” dessert is visually spectacular! Love it. Could also go for the warm banana puds with custard, particulary given the weather that we’ve been having in Melbourne over the past week.

  20. pea and pear said,

    July 13, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

    Y, my feet have sympathy pains for you.. and flashbacks!! Your desserts look so delicious and if I wasn’t currently (this week) obsessed with the raw food movement I would definitely be making puddings…. everynight. Maybe next week ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Ali

  21. Zoรซ Franรงois said,

    July 14, 2008 @ 8:30 am

    What a wonderfully sophisticated presentation of such a comfort food. Beautiful!

  22. Big Boys Oven said,

    July 14, 2008 @ 9:17 am

    This looks amazing! lovely . . .

  23. nina said,

    July 14, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

    This is my first visit and I will most definitely come back for more great ideas. My son and hubby will love all the peanut butter flavors.

  24. Eva said,

    July 14, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

    I guess I rather go for pud as I’d never be able to recreate such a wonderfully plated dessert… Speaking of it, maybe you can explain to me the difference of pudding and cake? I always thought pudding must be steamed but down here it seems like they’re pretty interchangeable?!

  25. cathy x. said,

    July 15, 2008 @ 7:47 am

    oh wow ๐Ÿ˜› that looks awesome! do you get to play with hydrocolloids at work?
    love cathy

  26. Chicken Fried Gourmet said,

    July 15, 2008 @ 11:06 am

    That looks awesome, I love the plating.

  27. My Sweet & Saucy said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 9:21 am

    I love your desserts! They are always so innovative and different!

  28. Mike said,

    July 17, 2008 @ 7:01 am

    That is a beautifully styled dessert and I love the idea to speckle it like the banana peel. Also, just hearing the mention of The Wire has me wanting to start watching the series over again from the beginning…I miss it! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  29. Ellie @ Kitchen Wench said,

    July 17, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

    Sweet holy WHOAH, that’s some sensational plating right there – so much love!

  30. Alexa said,

    July 23, 2008 @ 12:24 am

    Your pictures look like beautifully composed paintings. Simply stunning…

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