January 25, 2012

Date Night: The Tavern, Fort Worth, TX

On one of our recent date nights, Brian and I decided to try out something new for dinner.  I did a little google research and came up with The Tavern.  Dinner was simple and tasty.

For dessert, I was expecting a slice of pie to share with my honey boo boo (any Alana fans? my friends and I have been laughing about this video from Toddlers and Tiaras all week).  Instead we got a yummy deconstructed take on banana cream pie...graham cracker, chocolate chips, walnuts, caramel sauce, bananas and a smooth vanilla creamy filling topped with whipped cream.  While I was eating I was thinking about how I wanted to make this at home.  With a couple of willing test tasters (Joe and Brian) and a creative cooking duo (Jess and Hannah), here are the results:
Homemade pudding at 10:00 pm?  I think we would have settled for instant pudding but the poor little box of instant expired last year. And since we were comitted to the cause, we tried out a homemade recipe.
Plus added homemade caramel sauce, fresh bananas, wafers and chocolate. Delicious!

A few tips and hints:
-When adding raw eggs, make sure to gradually add a small portion of hot mixture to the eggs to let them get ready for the hot pudding! If not you will have scrambled eggs --- this didn't happen to us because I watch a lot of cooking tv shows
-We added a touch of lemon juice (next time might try to add more to intensify the flavor)
-Cover with plastic wrap or in my case, tear a few ziplocks and apply directly to the top of the pudding as it cools in the fridge so no funky pudding skin develops on the top
-Top with chocolate chips, graham crackers, your favorite fruit, pecans, fresh whipped cream, etc.. 

The February issue of Southern Living features a similar dessert on the cover so we must be on to something good.

Here's how to make it:

Easy Vanilla Pudding (makes 4 servings)

2 cups milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a 3-4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, measure out 1 1/2 cups milk. Microwave on high until steaming and heated through. Do not boil. Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Stir 1/2 cup cold milk into the cornstarch mixture until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot milk until no lumps remain.Cook in microwave until mixture is thickened and glossy, about 3-5 minutes; stir several times.Beat half of the hot mixture into 2 eggs which have been beaten lightly. Return the egg mixture to the remaining hot milk. Cook on high for about 3 minutes, or just until pudding begins to boil.Mix well with a wire whisk, stirring in butter and vanilla.
Pour into cups and refrigerate.

Easy Caramel Sauce (topping for 4 servings)

1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/8 cup of half and half
1 Tbsp of butter
dash of salt
1 tsp of vanilla

Heat everything except vanilla on medium heat until melted and smooth (about 5 to 10 minutes) then add vanilla. 

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