Recipe for Roasted Banana Pudding – For much of the last century, bananas made the Crescent City an import hub of the South. As a result, the fruit is celebrated in a plethora of dishes, including pastry chef Christy Augustin’s Southern spin on banana pudding.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pierce 3 unpeeled bananas several times with a knife and place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, until the skins turn black and juices are boiling out. Let cool. Peel and purée bananas in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Heat milk, 1½ cups sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, whisk remaining sugar with cornstarch, egg yolks and banana purée. Warm the mixture with a small ladle of the hot milk mixture. Once tempered, add the mixture to the remaining milk, sugar and salt in the saucepan and whisk well to combine. Stirring constantly, bring the pan contents to a gentle boil on medium heat. Continue to heat and stir for a full minute to cook out the starch and fully thicken the cream. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla extract and banana liqueur. Pour the mixture into a large heatproof bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Make certain the plastic wrap sits directly on top of the cream to avoid “pudding skin.” Let cool for 1 hour at room temperature.
Peel remaining bananas and slice into coins. Place 1 to 2 gingersnaps in the bottom of each of 12 small canning jars and top with 1 to 2 banana slices. Add a layer of pastry cream. Repeat process, layering until each jar is full. Cover the jars in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue to whip until medium-stiff peaks form. Top jarred pastry cream with meringue and toast with a blowtorch. Serve immediately.