Photo by Jennifer Hitchcock



5 Napoleons

  • Vanilla Wafer Crust

  • 2¼ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Banana Vanilla Custard

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 ½ cup sugar, divided, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 vanilla bean (scraped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 5 bananas, 3 diced

  • Chantilly Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, place vanilla wafers in food processor and blend to crumb consistency. Remove from processor and place in bowl. Add flour and sugar to vanilla crumbs and mix until evenly blended. Add melted butter and mix together until mixture will hold together.
  2. Spoon some of the mixture into a 3-inch cookie cutter to make a disk. Continue doing this until you have 15 disks total, each 3 inches, enough for 5 desserts.
  3. Bake disks for about 10 minutes, rotating once halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. For custard, place milk, half of sugar, vanilla seeds and pod, and butter in saucepan.
  5. In separate bowl, whisk remaining sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in eggs and yolk until mixture is a smooth paste consistency.
  6. Place saucepan on stove on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and making sure not to burn bottom of pan. Bring to a boil.
  7. Remove from heat and temper milk mixture into egg mixture until bottom of bowl is warm. Then add everything back into saucepan and put back on heat. STIR CONSTANTLY or custard will scramble and burn. Keep whisking until mixture comes back to a boil and continue whisking for 30 seconds after boiling. (This helps ensure all cornstarch taste has been cooked out.)
  8. Remove from heat and pass through a mesh strainer into an 11×15-inch flat-bottom cake pan.
  9. Fold diced bananas into custard while still warm. Smooth out custard evenly in cake pan and place plastic wrap directly on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Place in refrigerator and chill for 4−6 hours or until completely set.
  10. For Chantilly, place cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip until stiff peaks form. Place in piping bag fitted with a star tip and chill until ready to use.
  11. To assemble, place a dot of Chantilly cream in center of plate. Place a vanilla wafer disk on top (this will prevent sliding).
  12. With the 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out two rounds banana vanilla custard. Place one round on top of vanilla wafer disk. Repeat. Each dessert will have 3 vanilla wafer disks and 2 layers of custard.
  13. Pipe Chantilly on top wafer disk and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, slice last 2 bananas on a diagonal. Sprinkle sugar on top of bananas and place under broiler for 30 seconds—just enough to caramelize the sugar. Place 2 slices of bananas in center of Chantilly to finish off dish. For a little something extra, serve with caramel sauce.
  • from Dwayne Garrett Ingraham Jr. of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi

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