27 Feb Elvis-Style Mini Banana Puddings (Banana + Peanut Butter + Bacon)
Elvis once said “Do what’s right for you, as long as it don’t hurt no one.”
Is it just me, or does anybody else think that when he said that he was definitely speaking in reference to putting bacon on all the things?? Especially those peanut butter + banana + bacon sandwiches he’s become so well known for pigging out on, because YUM. (pun intended)
I mean, he had to be, right? Because bacon on desserts? It just feels right.
I’m not exactly what you would call an Elvis fan — you definitely won’t find me jamming out to Hound Dog (though it is pret-ty catchy), or strutting my stuff in a white, bedazzled jumpsuit any time soon. In fact, the sum of my knowledge of his life comes from the movie Forrest Gump (in my best Tom Hanks voice: swangin’ my heiips), a half-baked History of Rock n’ Roll class I took in college (it’s very possible I just wasn’t paying attention), and the three times I’ve been to Vegas since reaching legal drinking age. BUT when it comes to his gastronomic endeavors, one might say I’m a Super Fan. Especially after kicking back one or two of these little puddings. Yep, I think we would have gotten along just fine.
Because bacon. (And lezbehonest, booty shaking.) Y’all. I love love love bacon on desserts. Much more so than for breakfast. <— Is that weird? Something about adding a little sugar results in a caramel-y transformation that takes bacon from just meat to holy shit, MEAT. (In my humble opinion, of course.) The melding together of the sweet and salty with a just hint of bacon-y smokiness just gets me. I can’t even handle.
So, when a few weeks ago I was brainstorming ways to add a “spin” to the single-serving banana puddings I was making for a best galfriend’s wedding shower, I thought peanut butter! (because I’m almost always thinking about peanut butter) which led to Elvis! and then, of course, the addition of bacon only seemed natural. And let me tell you — God Bless Elvis, because damn.
Sidenote: I’m headed back to Vegas for said galfriend’s bachelorette shenanigans next weekend, so bonus points to me for dessert theme relevance! Also, WE’RE SEEING BRITNEY SPEARS. (!!!!!)
Sweet. Salty. Smokey. Nutty. Creamy. Crunchy. These minified banana puddings run the gamut.
On the bottom we have a toasty Nilla Wafer crust layer — a nod to traditional banana pudding recipes, only better because we’ve added butter and brown sugar and then toasted to crunchy bliss.
Next is a fabulous layer of fluffy, creamy peanut butter mousse, whose secret ingredient is cream cheese. (Spoiler: the secret ingredient is always cream cheese.)
On top of that, we add another Nilla Wafer for good measure then smother it with a layer of banana pudding that is slightly adapted from Christina Tossi’s banana pudding from Momofuku Milk Bar’s Banana Cream Pie, a.k.a. the best banana pudding you’ll ever eat, a.k.a. the banana pudding to end all banana puddings. Seriously, I don’t even like bananas all that much and I couldn’t stop shoveling this pudding into my mouth by the tablespoonful. Cream and butter will do that to you. You’ll never go back.
And finally, to top it all off, a layer of lightly sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with a healthy dose of sweet & savory bacon crumble topping.
Can I get a collective OH. EHMM. GEE?
And in case the above left any open questions, you can see the full assembly in all its food porn glory in this here GIF I made for you!! —>
It definitely takes a little extra time to make this recipe since it has so many components, however each of the individual components is super simple to make, and you can definitely break the preparation out over a few days.
Suggested timeline –> If you were going to serve this on a Saturday, make the banana pudding on Thursday (it will get better with time in the fridge, anyway), the peanut butter mousse on Friday, and the crust, bacon crumbles and whipped cream on Saturday before assembling. You could even push the whipped cream & crust to Friday if you really wanted, but I would definitely make the bacon day-of to maximize crispiness.
This really is the perfect little single-serving dessert for a crowd. The layers melt together into a fun, indulgent dessert that isn’t overly sweet or rich making them appealing to a wide range of dessert-lovers. They FLEW off the table at the shower I made them for. I kid you not, people were going back for seconds and thirds. I was one happy baker.
And since it only seems appropriate…
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Banana Pudding adapted from Christina Tossi’s Momofuku Milk Bar
Peanut Butter Mousse adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Bacon Crumb Topping from Molly of My Name is Yeh in collaboration with Cynthia of Two Red Bowls (!!!)
A Few Notes About This Recipe:
The peanut butter mousse requires you to whip two different mixtures separately — I used both my hand mixer and my stand mixer. If you only have one, whip the cream first then transfer it to another and chill in the refrigerator while you blend the peanut butter mixture.
The whipped cream recipe listed below is for stabilized whip cream, which means it’s sturdier in texture and will hold it’s shape for much longer than a traditional recipe. I did this presentation’s sake — I wanted the piped cream to hold its shape for several hours since I was serving them at a shower. While the gelatin doesn’t alter the flavor at all, you can definitely eliminate it (and the water) from the recipe to make a traditional whipped cream topping.
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use natural)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 oz (about 3 strips) bacon
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- ~25 Nilla Wafer cookies, plus 12 more for assembly
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 4 teaspoons cold water
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 12 4 oz. mini mason jars or container of your choice
- 2 freezer-sized plastic bags
- 1 piping bag fitted with star tip
- In a blender, combine the banana, heavy cream and milk and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add the sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg yolks and blend again until smooth and homogeneous.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. While the mixture warms up, clean your blender as you'll need it again.
- As the banana mixture become warm, whisk constantly. As it heats up it will begin to thicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue to whisk vigorously for about 2 minutes or until the custard is resembles thick glue, bordering on cement -- in other words, it should be VERY thick and goopy.
- Transfer the custard back to the blender. Add the butter and yellow food coloring (if desired) and blend until smooth. Transfer the the mixture to a heatproof bowl, cover and chill until cooled completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla and beat again until smooth, then beat in the powdered sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk or beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture, half at a time, until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Cook the bacon until crispy, cool and chop into pieces.
- Combine 1/2 cup of chopped bacon (any extra can be snacked on or saved for garnish), the sugar and water in a non-stick pan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar has caramelized and is a deep amber color, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. pour the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking pan and let cool.
- Once it's cool, break into pieces and pulse in a food processor or blender until the consistency of crumbs. Set aside until it's time to assemble the puddings.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the Nilla Wafers in a food processor and pulse until reduced to crumbs. Add the sugar and butter and pulse until well combined.
- Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and toasty. Set aside to cool.
- In a smallsaucepan, combine gelatin and cold water and let stand for about 5 minutes to thicken.
- Place the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly but do not allow it to set. In a chilled bowl, whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar, until slightly thick.
- While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream then turn up to high speed and beat until stiff. Place in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
- Divide the Nilla Wafer crust between the containers and gently press into and even layer.
- For the easiest and least messy assembly, scoop the chilled banana pudding into a freezer-sized plastic bag. Do the same with the peanut butter mousse.
- Cut off a corner from the bag of banana pudding and squeeze a layer of banana pudding into each jar, dividing it evenly until all of the pudding is used.
- Place a single Nilla Wafer on top of the banana pudding layer, then repeat the above step with the peanut butter mousse.
- Fill the pastry bag with the whipped cream and pipe a layer on top of the peanut butter mousse. Top each pudding with a sprinkling of bacon crumbles.
- Best served chilled on the same day as assembled.