Category Archives: Dessert

Award-Winning Pralines and Cream Banana Pudding

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

If you enter the National Banana Pudding contest and win third place instead of first place … is it still “Award-Winning” banana pudding?

It all started a long time ago when I moved from Nebraska to Tennessee.  Whenever talking food I would often hear …  “oh! Banana Pudding!  Yum!”  Then I tasted it in a restaurant and truly said, “yuck.” My Banana-pudding-lovin‘ husband said, “that isn’t true banana pudding.  The banana pudding in my memory is creamy, delicious and topped mile high with oven-browned meringue!”


That is when my sister-in-law, Liz, gave me Southern Living’s Banana Pudding recipe.  She said, “this is the one he is talking about.”  I made it and the rest is history.  These pictures are some of the most shared pictures on Pinterest and the recipe still receives a lot of views on this blog.

Last August (2016) my Chief Banana Pudding-Lovin’ Husband read about the National Banana Pudding Festival held every year in Centerville, Tennessee.   He said, “Catherine, you should enter your banana pudding recipe in the National Banana Pudding Festival Cook-off!”

I said, “Sorry darling, it has to be an original recipe and mine is from Southern Living!”

Without even missing one little beat he said, “well, tweak it and make it an original!”  I had just taken an Apple Praline Cake out of the oven and I had pralines and caramel thoughts dancing in my head!

Apple Praline Cake – Fall’s Delight!

I started researching what it takes to enter the contest and again I was stopped by the “original, non-published” requirement for the banana pudding recipe that I could submit.  However, The Chief continued to encourage me to get creative.  I let my fingers do the walking through  and was pleasantly surprised not to find any recipes for pralines and cream banana pudding.  So, I had my title, now I just needed to create a recipe.

Over the next month, my sous-chef dish-washing mom and my Chief Banana Pudding Eater sampled several versions of what would become my original recipe.  Each time they would say “Yeah!  this is the best one.”  I quickly learned they were not an objective source for my recipe because they loved them all!

Finally, I settled on a recipe and the night before the deadline, I emailed off the application and my original recipe.  Three days later I received the surprise call — my recipe was chosen and I was one of 10 finalists chosen for the cook-off to be held in October.

As the information settled on my brain I got to thinking how I don’t even like to watch Food Network challenge cooking shows because it makes me too nervous and hypes me up!  Cook-off? In front of judges?  On a stage, in front of people?  What in the world was I thinking?

My husband was thrilled, my sous-chef dish-washing mom was “all-in” for a trip to Centerville, Tennessee and I was … well, sorta numb.  I received information that they were providing a hotel room for us the night before and that I would need to arrive at 7:30 a.m. at the Festival.  The cook-off would begin at 9 a.m. with 5 cooks on stage at one time.  We had ONE HOUR to make our pudding, layer it, top it and finish it.  Oh, yes, and by the way, we needed to make TWO batches, one for the judges and audience to taste and the other to auction off to the highest bidder.

Setting up my work space!

The informational documents I received said each contestant would have a gas stove and oven to use. Perfect, I could make my pudding faster as long as I stirred like a crazy woman!  No problem, I was feeling quite crazy. If there was any part of the recipe I couldn’t make in the one-hour time frame, I could do prep work at home.  For my recipe, I made the pecan pralines ahead of time and brought them with me.

The stage was in a large open-air building with a solid wall behind the stage, but was open on the sides.  Chairs were set up in the middle for the audience to sit.  My position on the stage was first in a lineup of 5.  That was good, I felt like the corner gave me some extra moving around space.  I set up all my ingredients and utensils.

The Festival sponsors provided all the bananas and Nilla wafers that we needed.  Then I turned around to heat up the oven.  OH, MY GOODNESS!  Shock set in – the “stove and oven” was a little apartment size that actually was heated with propane, not natural gas. I don’t know the technical part of heating with propane vs. natural gas but I do know that propane doesn’t heat as quickly or efficiently.  The day was a bit windy and when I turned on the stove the flames skirted off to the side a little bit.  The oven seemed to be heating up okay.

Display I set up to showcase my pudding for the judges.

Little did I know when I started that the pudding was going to be very difficult to cook.  My pan was larger than the burner on the stove.  Trouble.  One of the judges approached me and began chatting as my hour began.  Trouble.  The flames were blowing to the side instead of heating up the bottom of my pot.  Trouble.

Fast forward one hour.  Two puddings were done, layered with bananas, Nilla wafers, pecan pralines, topped with meringue and baked.  I was given table space to display them. I had designed my space to hopefully grab some attention.  The clock ticked, the bell rang.  It was over.

At home, the pudding took 10 to 12 minutes to cook on my induction stove.  The propane-fired miniature stove took 30 minutes of stir time to make my pudding.  In the end, I added some extra flour and sugar attempting to thicken the pudding quicker.  The pudding ended up grain and not as creamy as I would have liked.

At one point I held the electric mixer in one hand beating the meringue while layering the bananas, Nilla wafers and pudding with the other hand.  I had to of looked out of control and I certainly felt that way.

All-in-all it was a fun experience.  I didn’t know I was going to be given a hand-made pottery “pudding pot” as part of my 3rd place prize package.  That pudding pot made it all worth it!  I love it.

I don’t want to do it again.  However, I have tweaked my recipe a little bit since that time.  The recipe I am sharing with you is the “tweaked” version and we agree, it’s our favorite!

Pralines and Caramel Banana Pudding

If you’ve never made banana pudding, it is fun to do and guarantees rave reviews.  If you have made it, you may want to try this version because the caramel flavoring and pecan pralines send it over-the-top on the flavor scale.

Happy Cooking!
~ Catherine

P.S.  Another best part — my sweet banana-pudding-lovin’ husband washed up all my pots and pans at the Festival.  ❤️


Award-Winning Pralines and Caramel Banana Pudding
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
No matter where you take this bowl of banana pudding, it will return empty! My original recipe won 3rd place at the National Banana Pudding Festival in 2016. In this version, I added caramel flavoring which only served to improve the over-all recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 12-16
Ingredients
Praline Pecans
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ tsp. caramel flavoring
Pudding
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. caramel flavoring
  • 1 (11 oz.) packaged of vanilla wafers
  • 4 bananas, sliced (dipped in lemon water or sprinkled with fruit fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon banana extract
  • ⅓ cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine whole pecans, brown sugar, cream, and caramel flavoring. Mix well coating the pecans evenly. Spread onto a baking sheet, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the coating is dry and slightly crystallized, stirring at least once. Remove from oven to cool and break apart any pieces that are sticking together. Set aside.
To make pudding
  1. Combine ⅔ cup sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy saucepan. In a separate bowl whisk together condensed milk, whole milk, and egg yolks; stir into the dry ingredients. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until smooth and thickened. Use the largest whisk you have to stir while cooking the pudding. This usually takes 10 to 15 minutes, but really depends on your stove or heat source.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and caramel flavoring. Cool the pudding at this point on the counter until just barely warm.
  3. Using a 2 to 3-quart baking dish, arrange ⅓ of the wafers in the bottom of the dish, laying each one flat. Layer 2 sliced bananas over the wafers. Pour ½ of the pudding mixture over the wafer and banana layer. Repeat with a second layer ending with pudding on top.
  4. Beat egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add banana extract. Continue beating at high speed, adding ⅓ cup sugar just one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until egg whites are very stiff.
  5. Spread egg white mixture over the pudding, sealing it up against the edge of the bowl. Arrange remaining wafers around the outside of the dish. Dot around the edge with praline pecans.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping if desired. Serve pudding warm at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold. Enjoy!
Notes
Note: This pudding will fit a 9” x 13” baking dish or a 2 or 3-quart dish.
Also – be sure and use sweetened condensed milk and NOT evaporated milk!

 

Welcome Abby Hughes!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I am so excited to write to you today and share some exciting news that I’ve kept under wraps for a little while now.  I want to welcome Abby Hughes and introduce her as my new blogging partner!

Abby is as beautiful inside as she is outside.  She is a graduate of Bob Jones University with a degree in Culinary Arts.  Besides being totally sweet and adorable she really knows her way around the kitchen!   Ooops – Sorry Abby, sounds like I am writing an ad for a husband for you … 🙂

Long before Abby attended her first class at Bob Jones University she was delivering delectable treats to our doorstep.  She takes after her mother Gaye Hughes in that department!  In the 7 years since we moved to the countryside of Middle Tennessee and became neighbors to the Hughes, we’ve been gifted with dozens of cookies, countless muffins, a variety of homemade soups, birthday cakes, gingerbread treats,  and most recently fresh yeast rolls hot out of the Hughes oven!


It is Gaye Hughes baked oatmeal recipe that I shared with you many years ago and I made as recently as yesterday!



Abby spent this past summer as a counselor to teenage girls at The Wilds Christian Camp in North Carolina.   When she returned home we had a chance to sit on my front porch and catch up.  It is then that Abby shared with me her wish to begin blogging.  She is highly creative and wants to hone her writing skills.   Abby asked me “how do I get followers on the blog?”  That is when it hit me.  She could blog for years and years and build her following or she could join me and have an instant following!  👏

We quickly started brainstorming what that would like on www.praycookblog.com.  You will see her many talents for yourself as she shares with us her variety of passions from art to crafts and from the kitchen to wherever her heart takes her!

I am thrilled to have her join me at My Daily Bread Body and Soul!  I love her and I know you will too!   ❤️

She has a lot of ideas and you will be hearing from her soon.  Please join me in welcoming Abby Hughes to our little space on the world-wide net!

Grace and Peace,
Catherine

 

 

 

 

Apple Praline Cake

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

app

Has the season changed where you live?  Are the leaves falling, the days are cooler, and the nights are made for snuggling?  Today, September 30 is the FIRST day since early spring that I can remember the temperatures anything less than 80’s and 90’s!  Whew, I am so over summer.  A month ago I changed out my summer clothes to fall clothes.  BIG mistake.  Then 29 days ago I started bringing summer clothes back into my closet one pair of capris pants at a time!

Apple Praline Cake - Fall's Delight!
Apple Praline Cake – Fall’s Delight!

If clothes and the closet aren’t enough hassle I totally wanted to start making and baking autumn food!  We had  White Chicken Chili that my sous-chef dish-washing mom made for us early in September and we sweat it out eating it while the sun blazed 80 degrees outside!


Red Rome Apples
In my mind fall is here when the apples are ready, or it should be that way.  But in middle Tennessee mother nature has a mind of her own and the temperature drops when she says it drops!

Our friends, Ed and Joan have an apple orchard and they share their fall bounty with us each year.  What a blessing to receive 3 or 4 different kinds of apples freshly picked!  Even as the temperatures soared this month we started cooking apples and it has been lovely. This Apple Praline Cake has turned out to be a real keeper!  I have made it twice already and decided it was high time I share it with you, because I know you are going to want to make and bake it with fresh apples of your own!

apple praline cake dof

The original recipe came from Inside Brucrew Life and I changed it up just a bit.  The recipe listed southern pecan coffee creamer for the icing and I used Coffee Mate’s new creation of Vanilla Caramel.  This stuff is so good you can drink it straight – but save some for this frosting!  I also used homemade vanilla.  Btw- it’s not too late to make homemade vanilla extract for this year’s holiday gift giving.  Check out this recipe!  Since my cousin Jill taught me how to make my own vanilla extract I cannot imagine using anything else!

Apple Praline cake closeup

For this cake, you can use any variety of apples you want — or mix it up and use a couple different kinds.  That is what I usually do.  If you make the cake please let me know how it turns out and what a hero you are to your friends and family!

Happy Baking!
~Catherine

I love this quote from C.S. Lewis, and I hope it blesses you today:

“I pray because I can’t help myself.  I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time — waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.”     

Apple Praline Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Apples and praline pecans - oh my this is fantastic cake. Not your ordinary cake by a long shot. Happy Fall!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 24
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups finely diced apples (any variety, or a mix of varieties works well too!)
Praline frosting
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flavored coffee creamer, I recommend Vanilla Caramel but Southern Pecan works well too
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup pecan chips
Instructions
  1. In your large mixer bowl, beat the oil and sugars until they look like wet sand.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, continuing to mix.
  3. Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly beat it into the sugar mixture.
  4. Stir in the apples.
  5. Spread the batter in a greased 9" x 13" baking dish*. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  6. When the cake is nearly cooled, place the butter, brown sugar, and coffee creamer in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir for one minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. With an electric mixer, beat together the cooled butter mixture and the powdered sugar. Stir in pecan chips.
  8. Quickly spread the frosting over the top of the completely cooled cake. This frosting will set up quite fast.
  9. Cut into 24 squares and serve or store at room temperature in a tightly sealed container.
  10. *See Note
Notes
* This cake can be baked in the 9" x 13" baking dish, a BUNDT pan, or cupcake tins. I have even made it in mini-muffin tins. Time should be adjusted for the cupcakes and mini-cupcakes.

 

 

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake – Got Blueberries?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lemon Blueberry singleI make a lot of food that never makes it to my blog.  Not that it is all terrible (although sometimes it is!) but I only want to blog the recipes that are terrific!!

Lee's Blueberry Bush

Our blueberry bush produced a lot of beautiful berries this year.  I am so grateful to have them in the freezer now.  But if you don’t have a freezer full, the grocery stores still have nice berries for this recipe, because you are going to want to put this recipe on your “to-make” list!


Lemon BB coffee cake top down

I used a 9″ springform pan and the cake turned out well.  If you don’t have a springform pan then a regular baking pan will work and you can simply slice and serve from the pan.

Lemon BB single

Even though this is a simple “coffee cake” recipe the crumb topping really sets it apart from others.  But do not pass up on making the lemon buttercream frosting – that is what puts it on the “must make and bake” list!  Your family and friends will thank you!

Do you bake for compliments?  I do!

Happy Baking,
~Catherine

P.S.  As soon as my sous-chef dish-washing mom sees this blog post she is going to want me to make this again!  And I will.

Blueberry Bush July

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The weekend is coming and this coffee cake will thrill family and friends. It is fast and easy to put together and a luscious, moist combination of flavors.
Author:
Recipe type: Coffee Cake, Brunch or Breakfast,
Serves: 12-16
Ingredients
Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
Crumb Topping
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9" springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the crumb topping ingredients, sugar, flour and 3 T. butter. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, milk and lemon zest. Add in flour, baking powder, and salt and mix just until combined. Gently stir in the blueberries.
  4. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool the cake for 10 minutes and then gently run a knife around the edges and remove the ring.
  7. With whisk or electric mixer combine the powdered sugar, softened butter and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add more lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency. Drizzle over cooked cake.
Notes
Optional: I added a sprinkle of yellow food coloring to the frosting to give it the lemony-look!

This recipe came from Barbara at www.barbarabakes.com

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...