This is the southern way to make banana pudding. Or is banana pudding itself southern? Perhaps this is simply the “old fashioned” way of making it. Either way, it’s cooked and has a meringue (I prefer eating it warm but cold is good too). The recipe came from Southern Living with a few modifications. This is one of those recipes that if you have farm-fresh eggs and pure vanilla extract, you’ll want to use them. I like to throw in an extra egg (for a total of 4 eggs). It gives it a richer texture and thickens it a little more…and it gives you extra meringue for the top! But you’ll have to do your own experimenting.
If you don’t like bananas in this pudding, it’s equally delicious (at least I think so!) without the bananas. But the vanilla wafers are a must!
Don’t let the meringue scare you from trying this recipe. It’s pretty forgiving. I can never get the egg whites truly stiff, they end up more at the “soft peak” stage. I just slap it on top and smooth it out. It turns out fine.
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
dash of salt
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12 oz. package vanilla wafers
3-6 medium bananas
Stir together flour, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and milk. Slowly stir into dry ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool until just warm. If you are not using bananas, then you could proceed without the cooling process (the bananas turn black if the pudding is too hot—yes, I know this from experience!). If you’re in a hurry, place some ice in a large plastic or metal bowl and put the saucepan on top. Stir occasionally until warm.
Layer 1/3 of the wafers in a 3 quart baking dish (or smaller individual dishes). Slice bananas and place 1/3 of them over wafers. Pour 1/3 of the custard over bananas. Repeat layers twice.
3 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and beat until blended. Spread over custard mixture, sealing to edge of dish. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown (about 10 minutes).