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Michael Voltaggio’s Banana Parfait

Wilber’s Barbecue & Restaurant in Goldsboro, NC, serves up a homey bread pudding. In a playful spin on this classic, Chef Michael Voltaggio transforms vanilla pudding, sliced bananas and vanilla wafers into a decadent parfait. The crowning touch: scoops of vanilla wafer ice cream.

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
  • 6 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 bananas, cut on the bias into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 8 vanilla wafer cookies, crumbled, plus 4 whole vanilla wafers
  • Vanilla wafer ice cream for serving (see related recipe at left)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and the 1 cup sugar. Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk mixture and add the bean halves. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, then sift in the cornstarch and flour and cook for 1 minute.

In a heatproof bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until beginning to thicken, about 30 seconds. Remove the bean halves and discard.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer enough of the pudding mixture to reach the fill line of an iSi cream whipper and refrigerate until cool. Place the remaining pudding in a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Meanwhile, lay 12 banana slices on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the 2 tsp. sugar. Using a kitchen torch according to the manufacturer’s instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Set the caramelized banana slices aside.

When the pudding has cooled, screw the top onto the iSi cream whipper. Using the cream chargers, charge twice according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Shake vigorously. Squirt the aerated pudding evenly into the bottom of 4 sundae glasses. Arrange a layer of raw banana slices on top, followed with crumbled vanilla wafers, another layer of raw banana slices, another layer of crumbled vanilla wafers and another layer of aerated pudding. Refill the cream whipper with more pudding and recharge as needed, whisking the pudding before pouring it into the whipper.

Top each parfait with a scoop of vanilla wafer ice cream, and garnish with 1 whole vanilla wafer and 3 caramelized banana slices. Serves 4.

Recipe by Chef Michael Voltaggio, inspired by Wilber’s Barbecue & Restaurant, Goldsboro, NC.