I will always have a soft spot in my heart for pudding, in large part because it brings me right back to my grandma’s house, where as a child I stood on a step stool so I could reach the pot and help stir, stir, stir as the sweet scent of the thickening mixture wafted upward.
Looking back, I see how that aromatherapy, along with the anticipation of waiting for the warm mixture to set in the refrigerator in the little glass ramekins she had poured it into, only added to the pleasure of eating it in the end.
These single-serving cups of maple-kissed pudding, layered with sliced banana and topped with a crunch of graham cracker crumbles, transport me to that comforting place — and in a better-for-you way to boot. The recipe doesn’t veer far from Grandma’s, except that rather than refined sugar I use a modest amount of maple syrup, which adds a lovely layer of flavor. She generally used whole milk like I do here, instead of cream, so the pudding has some richness yet is still relatively light. If you are especially concerned about saturated fat, you could substitute low-fat milk to a good, but somewhat less creamy, result. Keep the egg yolk though, which contributes body and color.
One thing Grandma definitely had down was the perfect portioning. Building each serving with layers of thinly sliced banana into small ramekins or cups is not only visually appealing, it means you get just the right amount for a satisfying, healthful snack or dessert.