Cinnamon Swirl King Cake
Serves 12 to 18
Cooks in 3 hours and 0 minutes
Hands On Time:
2 cups milk
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 45 Nilla wafers
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
8 ripe bananas, sliced
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to a simmer. In a large saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar until thick and light. Stir the flour into the egg yolk mixture to make a smooth paste.
Whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture until well combined, and then place the saucepan over medium heat. (Make sure the cream is perfectly smooth before letting it boil!) Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Continue to cook and whisk until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.
Place a layer of Nilla wafers on the bottom of a large baking dish. Spread half the strained pastry cream on top of the wafers. Insert wafers, standing straight up, into the pastry cream all along the sides of the dish.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is foamy, add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until melted. Add the bananas and stir to coat. Cook, spooning the butter mixture over the bananas, until the bananas are softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon the bananas evenly over the pastry cream in the baking dish. Top with a second layer of wafers. Spoon the remaining pastry cream over the wafers.
In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue over the pastry cream and spread evenly to cover the entire surface, sealing well at the edges. Using a spatula, make curls and peaks in the meringue. Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Place on a cooling rack and let cool slighlty. Serve warm or chilled.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Per serving: 453 calories (percent of calories from fat, 29), 8 grams protein, 75 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 15 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 146 milligrams cholesterol, 211 milligrams sodium.
Please your sweet tooth in less than an hour with this delicious dessert.
Instead of the traditional vanilla pudding most often used in banana pudding, chef Virginia Willis utilized a recipe for a much richer custard: vanilla-flavored pastry cream known in French cooking as crème pâtissière. An additional chef-inspiration was cooking the bananas as in Bananas Foster. She commented, "The bananas in banana pudding always turn brown in a short time; I thought if I actually cooked the bananas, it would prevent the browning and make the dish slightly more complex and flavorful."
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