Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Banana Pudding

One time, I told one of my Yankee friends that I made banana pudding.  My friend then asked me why I was so excited about a banana-flavored packet of powdered pudding that you mix with milk.

Um, no.

Once again, I was reminded that I lived in another land, one far from the South.  Where it is common knowledge that banana pudding consists of a delicious homemade, rich vanilla pudding layered with vanilla wafers and slices of fresh banana.


Nothing artificial. 

Well, except maybe for vanilla wafers.  Not sure how real they are.  But they are real good.  Does that count?

Have you ever made vanilla pudding from scratch?


This is just flour and sugar whisked together.

Then you whisk in the milk and let it thicken over medium-low heat.

Easy stuff.

Let it thicken until it coats the back of the spoon.  See how it coated the spoon?  I ran my finger down the spoon to demonstrate.  Actually I just felt like it.  I thought it would look neat in a picture.

Now we have to separate some eggs and then temper them.  We're putting the yolks into the custard and making a meringue with the whites for the top.

Beat up the yolks and add a little bit of the hot pudding. 

This is tempering: you bring the eggs up to the temperature of the hot custard to avoid scrambling the eggs when you add the eggs back to the custard.

I mean, it would be criminal to let your eggs scramble in this nice homemade custard.

Now then.

Egg yolks aren't quite rich enough, so we need to add some butter.  Just a half a stick.

Are you ready to layer?

I am.  I love to layer it while the pudding is hot so the cookies become one with the bananas and the custard.  Yum.

Get a deep souffle dish.

Put cookies in the bottom.

And cut some bananas up.

Now pour some custard over it.

And do it all again, ending with custard.

Now top it with meringue.

Whip the egg whites together with some sugar and cream of tartar until you get stiff peaks.

Just don't take it too far or you'll be sorry.

Make some fancy peaks with your spatula.

And bake it until the peaks are browned.

And then serve it to your friends.

I like it warm.  But you can chill it first if you like sub-par dessert.

Banana Pudding

1 1/4 sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
3 yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 stick butter
1 Box vanilla wafers
6 bananas

Meringue topping:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 T sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together the sugar, salt and flour in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the milk and cook the custard until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Stir it constantly.  This takes about 8-10 minutes.  Whisk together the three egg yolks.  Turn off the heat and whisk about a half cup of the hot custard into the eggs.  When that is incorporated, whisk the egg yolk mixture into the rest of hte custard.  Now add the vanilla and butter.  Whisk together until butter is melted and incorporated.

In a deep soufle dish, layer vanilla wafers on the bottom.  Top with half of the sliced bananas.  Pour half of the custard on top.  Repeat layers one more time. 

Now make the meringue.  In a mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they start to get frothy.  Add the cream of tartar while the mixer is running.  Add the sugar slowly, sprinkling in one tablespoon at a time.  The mixture will become white and thick and shiny.  Add the vanilla.  When the whites get to stiff peaks (the meringue should stand up when you hold the mixer beater up in the air), the meringue is done.  Spread it on top of the banana pudding. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes until the meringue peaks start to brown.  Watch it closely because this happens fast.

Serve immediately, at room temperature, or chilled.  It's delicious any way you serve it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you so much for this recipe! I've been waiting for several years to have this delicious dessert again. I can't believe how much better REAL banana pudding tastes as opposed to the whipped box stuff.

Aletta, the Yankee