Monday, May 10, 2010

Mutiny with Bananas

Well, it was destined to happen eventually.  Complete and abject failure.  Because Mutiny on the Bounty takes place in Tahiti, I thought it would be a nice idea to try something Tahitian.  I thought first to do something with breadfruit, as that plant figures so prominently in the film, but do you have any idea how difficult it is to find breadfruit in Boston?  After giving up that route, I found a recipe called a Po'e, a traditional Tahitian bread pudding.  The instructions were pretty easy, and I happily put my pudding in the oven, expecting exotic results.  I'll provide the instructions, should you feel intrepid.

Tahitians presumably making Po'e in Mutiny on the Bounty
Traditional Po'e

You'll need:
Ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks, 6-8
1 papaya
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coconut cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Puree the bananas and papaya in a blender or food processor. There should be enough puree to make 4 cups.
  2. Mix together the brown sugar and cornstarch. Add this mixture and the vanilla to the bananas and process well. There should not be any lumps of starch. Adjust sugar to taste.
  3. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and pour in the puree. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the pudding is firm and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled.
  4. Cut into cubes and place into a large serving bowl or in individual bowls. Top with a dollop of coconut cream, a little more brown sugar and serve.
Po'e don't want to see the after...

What resulted was a kind of brown rubber hockey puck, vaguely tasting of bananas and glue.  I think I might have added too much cornstarch.  Picture a bananay cake thing that looks and tastes like an the inside of an old Fig Newton.  Fail.  I take it it does not taste this way when Tahitians bake it in banana leaves.  So much for being exotic.

So after throwing a temper tantrum, I made my own pudding dessert.  Screw the Tahitians.  But I added bananas because, well, at least it's a little tropical.

My Improvised Far-Cooler-Than-The-Po'e Pudding Pie
You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbsps sugar
1 ready-made graham cracker crust, or Pillsbury regular crust
1 packages of instant chocolate pudding, pie filler
2 cups milk
Some graham crackers
A few bananas
A bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. If you are using a Pillsbury crust, like I did, put the crust in a pie tin and bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Cool completely.
  2. Follow the instructions on the pudding box and make it using the milk.
  3. Usually some kind of electric mixer, whisk the heavy cream and sugar until it forms stiff peaks, making whipped cream.
  4. Mix some of the whipped cream with the pudding to make it more mousse-like, about 1/2-1 cup.
  5. Pour the pudding mixture into the crust.
  6. Cover the top with the rest of the whipped cream.
  7. Crush up some graham crackers and sprinkle them over the top.  Slice up the bananas and add them as well.
  8. Melt the chocolate chips and drizzle that over the pie as desired.  Refrigerate at least an hour, until firm.
This recipe, or some variation of it, is my go-to dessert if I'm ever in a pinch.  It is easy, cheap, and quick to make.  Often, if I'm trying a new dessert for a party, I'll have a back-up dessert handy (like this one).  More than once, I've slaved all day making some extremely complicated torte or souffle, only to have it fall or crumble.  This is why it's always good to have a back-up dessert that is easy, quick and that everyone loves.  Who doesn't like chocolate pudding pie?  No one.  This way, you can still say you worked hard and made a dessert from scratch (kind of).  So once again, my pudding pie has saved the day.  Take that, Tahitians.

 PS-  If you're wondering why there are only bananas on half the pie, it's not because I'm trying some advanced pie aesthetic, it's because my roommate hates bananas and I didn't want to eat the whole thing myself. :-)
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  1. I can't believe this exists: I was clicking on some cinematical article about completing the Best Picture challenge and wound up on here, gazing at the time and effort it takes to do such a project. Many props.

    I've actually done the same thing in 2008, though being a Sophomore in college at the time, I hadn't had the opportunity to write most of it down--and even then, I was restricted by time to just mention if the film was good or not. (I did all 80 of the winners at that point in 6-7 weeks...somehow.) Even with hours, I don't think I could have made such an exhaustive effort that you are doing. This site is definitely getting bookmarked from me!

    (I inexplicably collect the winners, too--and have about 55 on my DVD collection as of now. I'll stop and wait for pity because I voluntarily bought Cimarron a month and a half ago and it is like eating a bad sandwich that you are made to finish.)

  2. Thanks so much! It's so nice to hear that someone appreciates my efforts :-)

    Somehow I'm powering on through, but please keep reading-it means a lot.

    And yes, I am judging you a little bit for voluntarily buying Cimarron. I'm praying I never have to watch that thing again.