I do love me some banana pudding.
Preferably after eating pulled pork sandwiches in Charleston, South Carolina but really, I can do some serious damage to banana pudding any time, anywhere. It’s just that good.
My favorite part?
Definitely the meringue topping….or no, actually I take that back. It’s the cookie layer. Definitely the cookie layer. I love how the pudding slightly softens the vanilla wafers, making them almost cake-like at the bottom of your bowl.
And even though I’d have to classify this as one of my favorite desserts, it’s something I had never attempted to make at home….that is, until yesterday.
To make this, you gotta start with the basics. Remember these? I know you do!
Please don’t buy the reduced fat kind. They just aren’t good.
Now, the essence of banana pudding is pretty simple: it’s just a cooked custard topped with meringue. That being said, cooking custard can be a little tricky and it takes practice so let’s talk about it for a second, mmk?
First of all, I’ve scorched many a cooked custard in my day. It’s not always pretty and it smells kinda funky, too. Basically, you want the custard to still be pourable, but also be thick enough so you know the egg yolks are cooked.
No one likes raw eggs in their pudding, you know?
I’m definitely not a master at this, but what works best for me is to just whisk my heart out over medium/low heat. It’ll take awhile to get thick (probably a solid ten minutes) but it’s best to go slow and steady with this than crank your heat and scorch your pudding.
Things like this teach us patience.
Unfortunately, I can’t give you real time Jenna stirs custard photos because I would have surely scorched my custard if I was taking photographs while whisking and, therefore, ruined my whole dinner party.
Multi-tasking just really isn’t my strong suit.
But it should look something like this when it’s done! Thick and creamy, but not clumpy.
Immediately take that sucker off the stove. Pour it over previously arranged vanilla wafers and banana slices and then add another layer of cookies and bananas on top. Heaven.
You’re going to want to leave that alone for a minute now while you crank out your meringue. I could write an entire post on the merits of meringue. Maybe someday I will.
But as for now, spread (or pipe!) the meringue all over the top of the pudding.
And then bake at 375 for about twelve minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
And there ya have it. I like to serve mine chilled, so it’s best to make this dessert about three to four hours before you plan to eat.
Old Fashioned Banana Pudding
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
5 very ripe bananas
4 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 T butter
Box of Vanilla Wafers
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Spray a nine by nine inch baking pan with cooking spray and then arrange a layer of vanilla wafers on the bottom. Set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Drop your egg yolks in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour mixture as well as the milk and vanilla and whisk well so no flour clumps remain. Turn heat on medium low and continue to whisk NON STOP for a solid ten to twelve minutes, or until the custard thickens up to a pudding consistency. This will take awhile. Be patient.
Once it’s thick, immediately take off the stove to cool. Stir in the butter. Chop your bananas and layer half on top of the cookies in the dish. Pour the custard on top. Layer the rest of the bananas, plus more cookies, on top of the custard and push down so that the cookies and bananas sort of sink into the custard a little bit.
Set aside and make your meringue. In a KitchenAid (or an electric hand mixer), beat the egg whites until they are frothy and you can’t see the bottom of the bowl. Gradually add the cream of tartar and the sugar while you continue to beat until thick, glossy peaks occur. This will take about five to six minutes, depending on your mixture.
When you have stiff peaks, turn off the mixer and spread or pipe the meringue on top of the pudding. Bake at 375 for about twelve minutes, or until the top of the meringue is golden brown. Chill for about three hours before serving.