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Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
Southern families, regardless of background, have some traditions in common. One is biscuits and gravy for breakfast at least once a week. Another is banana pudding, or "nanner pudd'n'" as some call it, for dessert. It's delicious no matter what time of day you decide to indulge. I've had it several times for breakfast. Banana pudding is a favorite of most Southerners; and after you've tasted it, you'll know why. Another favorite that is just as good, in my opinion, is banana-pineapple pudding; but that's another recipe. After you try this recipe, you'll be a Southerner at heart. Speaking of heart, bananas are one of the best things you can do for your heart. Bananas are rich in potassium and phosphorous; electrolytes necessary for a healthy heartbeat. So, good news! Not only is banana pudding delicious, it's good for you, too! Oh, if you can resist, put it in the fridge overnight. Banana pudding is better the day after it's made, which is hard to believe when you've tasted it freshly made. In any case, it should be at least cooled to room temperature before serving; so make it a few hours before you intend to serve it, if you're planning to serve it at a particular meal. This is a recipe that uses homemade filling, so a little work is involved. The filling recipe is a family recipe; but the bananas and vanilla wafers are nature's and the cookie company's, respectively. The meringue is a standard meringue recipe that can be found in any cookbook in the known universe. Remember that cold eggs do not yield as much volume as room temperature eggs, and they take longer to peak; so, if you refrigerate your eggs, set them out for an hour or so before you make this recipe. Now, without further ado, here we go...
- 1 (12 ounce) box vanilla wafers
- 5 large bananas
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2⁄3 cup sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large egg whites
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- BANANA-WAFER PREPARATION:.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slice the bananas crosswise into 1/4" thick round slices.
- In a large, oven safe bowl, or in an 8x8x2-inch pan or glass baking dish, line the bottom and sides with a layer of vanilla wafers.
- On top of the layer of wafers, place one layer of bananas. Repeat, alternating a layer of wafers and a layer of banana slices until the bowl or dish is filled to within 1/4 to 1/2-inch below the rim.
- THE FILLING:.
- Separate the eggs, being careful not to nick the yolks. Reserve the egg whites and set aside.
- Combine evaporated milk and water.
- In a large sauce pan, mix flour, sugar, and egg yolks until well blended.
- Mix in milk slowly, stirring constantly.
- Place pan on the range eye and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
- As soon as mixture reaches boiling point, reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly until desired thickness is achieved. Filling should be thick but pourable.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Immediately pour over wafer-banana layers, jiggling the dish to ensure that filling covers all layers and there are no air pockets.
- THE MERINGUE:.
- TIP - If you do not have cream of tartar, you can use 1/2 tsp of lemon juice as a satisfactory substitute. 1/4 tsp lemon juice = 1/8 tsp cream of tartar.
- TIP - Cold egg whites will not yield as much volume as room temperature egg whites and will take longer to peak.
- Beat room-temperature egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff and glossy peaks form and all sugar is dissolved.
- Spoon meringue over banana pudding, smoothing the top and sealing it to the edge of the bowl or baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until meringue is golden.
- Cool to room temperature or chill in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
- Banana pudding's flavor is best the day after it is made.
- 9 Servings.