As a good butler, it’s your job to clean the blood out of Master Wayne’s suits, acquire NDA paperwork from any ladies you find sleepily prowling the mansion each morning, and create a nigh infinite quantity of bat shaped everyday objects for the master’s amusement. It’s nice to pretend Master Wayne is merely obsessed with a particular geometric pattern and color combination that resonates with him, but after this many blows to the head, a bat logo is the only way for him to distinguish the difference between things the estate lawyers say he can safely attack versus the rest of the world.
Technically, this dish ought to be called southern style Batnana pudding, but Master Bruce thoroughly enjoys it when his Robin du jour sings the Bat Flan song when serving dessert. You can blame the first Alfred – if you can find him.
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp room temperature butter
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tbsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp heavy cream (or whole milk)
- ½ tbsp black food coloring (add more if necessary)
Bat-Nanna Pudding Ingredients
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
- 6-8 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
- 3-4 ripe bananas (about 1 pound), thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup sugar
Instruct whatever homeless boy Master Bruce is calling Robin this week to whisk together the flour, baking powder, and kosher salt.
While he dutifully obeys, toss the butter and sugar into your stand mixer and let it roughly toss them about for 2-3 minutes. A hand mixer will also work. Scrape down the sides, add the egg, and keep mixing for another minute or so.
Darken the light, fluffy clouds of deliciously fatty sugar by adding the vanilla, heavy cream, and black food coloring. Keep mixing another half a minute or so, or until the darkness has entirely overtaken the contents of your bowl. If your mix appears more grey than black, add another ¼ tsp food coloring and keep mixing.
Like the eternally doomed attempts to remove graffiti from Gotham’s walls, scrape the sides of the bowl down yet again. Take the flour mixture from “Robin” and mix it into the dark, wet mass until the flour is barely incorporated and all hint of lightness disappears.
Have the urchin press the black dough into a flat disc. No need to get that food coloring on your hands. Wrap the disc in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (or overnight.)
When you’re ready to bake your batarangs, start by preheating your oven to 350F.
Roll the disc out to ¼ inch thickness. Attack the cookie dough with the bat shaped cookie cutter of your choice. Arrange your fragile, raw batarangs 2 inches apart on a baking sheet that’s been lightly greased or lined with a nonstick baking mat. (The baking mats work best.)
Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans so your wing tips don’t burn and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cookie edges are dark as shadows and the bottoms thump like a falling body when tapped.
Move your batarangs from the soothing warmth of the baking sheet where they were forged to the chilly and dispassionate efficiency of a cooling rack and leave them there until they are as hardened as a villain’s heart. Wait. Gotham’s villains are preternaturally cheerful souls.
BAT-NANA PUDDING INSTRUCTIONS
Pour 2 ½ cups of milk into a saucepan and heat it until the liquid steams like an ominous sewer grate. Don’t let it come to a full boil lest you fall prey to the ravage of curdled dairy.
While your milk seethes, whisk together 1 cup of sugar, ¼ cup of cornstarch, and 1 tsp kosher salt in a large bowl. All that white powder looks suspicious, so moisten it up with your 4 egg yolks. Keep whisking everything together until the yolk blend turns unnaturally pale (usually 3-4 minutes, depending on how vigorously you whisk.) If you want your pudding to be a brighter yellow, go ahead and add 6-8 drops of yellow food coloring. Now add in your remaining ½ cup of milk and let the beatings continue until you have a thick, smooth, slurry awaiting your orders.
Here’s the tricky part. You want to awkwardly dribble the steaming hot milk into your yolk blend while constantly whisking. The easiest way to do this is for the Robin du jour to continually work his whisk in the least flirtatious manner possible while you slowly pour in a drab of hot milk here and there until you’re all out.
Alas, sometimes Master Wayne takes his pets out to play. If you’re working alone, splash in about ¼ cup (just eyeball it) then whisk like mad until it’s fully incorporated. If you pour all the hot milk in at once, your eggs will curdle up until it looks like you’re making an edible portrait of Two Face. Be patient. Gradually dose the eggs with a dash of hot milk followed by a light and entertaining beating. Much like the Joker slowly adding a dash more crazy gas to the local high school’s ventilation system each week, if you take your time, the slow change will go unnoticed.
Once all your milk is playing nicely with all your eggs, unceremoniously dump the entire mix back into the saucepan and return it to a medium or medium low heat.
Never. Stop. Whisking. The pudding will seem obstinately unchanged for 3-4 minutes, when it will suddenly surprise you by instantly thickening up. If you stop whisking or look away, it will choose that moment to turn into a brick. It knows.
As soon as the pudding thickens, take it off the heat and toss in your 2 tbsp of butter and 1 ½ tsp vanilla. Keep whisking until the butter is completely melted. If you taste it now, you will involuntarily weep over all the times you ate pudding made by reconstituting a crass powder.
ASSEMBLE THE PARTS
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Arrange however many batarangs will fit along the bottom and sides of a rectangular glass baking dish. (They will disappear into the creamy depths if placed in a round bowl.) You want people to see them shining through the pudding like a bat signal.
Once your batarangs are secure, add a layer of sliced bananas over the cookies.
Carefully layer your home made pudding over the entire mess until the dish is about ⅓ full.
Add another layer of batarangs then more bananas on top of that. This the place to put your ugliest cookies, since no one will see them. Make it the home of broken wings and earless flying rodents.
Carefully pour more pudding over the layer of broken bats until your dish is about ⅔ full.
Now you must make a choice.
You can either top off the dish, bake it, and garnish with a single cookie, or you can be bold, be daring, be charmingly southern – and top it with a layer of meringue before adding that cookie. Granted, it’ll look less like a traditional black bat signal against a yellow background, but you can always tell people your lightly browned meringue symbolizes a typical Gotham sky, cloudy with pollution.
To make a meringue, hook your whisk attachment to your stand mixer (or stare forlornly at your hand mixer, knowing it’ll work, but take longer). Beat your egg whites and cream of tartar until they’re lightly frothy. Now gradually sprinkle in the remaining ½ cup of sugar, one tbsp at a time, as your mechanized minion continues to transform the egg whites from their natural state into a beautiful white mountain with peaks so stiff you can turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out.
Carefully spread the meringue over the pudding. Make sure it actually touches the sides of the dish or else you risk the meringue pulling away as though it’s trying to hide in the center of the dish for safety.
Whether or not you have a meringue, bake your pudding for 12-15 minutes. (If you add a meringue, pull it out when the top is golden brown. .)
Allow your NaNa Nana NaNa NaNa Bat Flan to cool slightly before carefully garnishing the center with a remaining batarang.
While it can be consumed chilled, this is best fresh from the oven as a warm treat for cold vigilantes.