Grandma Rene's Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

"This was the way my mom made banana pudding. You'll find no vanilla pudding mix in this! It's all homemade and with love. I used a saucepan on the stove to cook the custard, but you have to constantly stir it to keep it from scalding on the bottom because it needs to come to a boil (bubble) to thicken. If you're not comfortable doing that, try using a double-boiler. But it must bubble. For extra zip in the custard, add 1/4 tsp. of lemon oil or 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. The meringue is simple and delicious. If you want a mile-high meringue, use 6 eggs whites (any leftovers in the freezer? Take 'em out!) and 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Eggs are easier to separate when they're cold. So do so, and let them come to room temp before using. Bananas are best if they're ripe and sweet. Don't get any that are green. If yours are green, wait for them to ripen (putting them in a brown paper bag will speed the process). Don't worry about having too many's great piled high with all the ingredients! Best served warm, but good either way. Zap in microwave if you have kept it in the refrigerator for hot banana pudding! This is one of my favorite comfort foods!"
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  • In a saucepan or double-boiler, mix the sugar, flour, salt, milk, egg yolks and whole egg. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly to bring up to a good temperature. Slowly increase heat until mixture thickens and bubbles and becomes thick. It will coat the back of a wooden spoon and when you draw your finger down the middle of the back of the spoon, the separation remains.
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla and lemon oil or zest if using.
  • Slice bananas 1/4" to 1/2" thick, whatever your preference.
  • Use a 2 quart souffle dish or 10-inch pie plate. Layer vanilla wafers on bottom. Top with some bananas, followed by the custard. Repeat until all the custard is used. Finish with custard and wafers pressed down into it.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Take room temperature egg whites and add cream of tartar and pinch of salt. Beat til foamy. As volume increases, slowly add sugar. Whip til glossy but not dry. Stop mixer and add vanilla. Whip til incorporated and meringue stands in stiff peaks but it not dry. Meringue should still have a nice sheen to it.
  • Dump meringue on top of prepared banana pudding mixture and spread out to the edges and seal to the edge using a spatula. Sealing is important as the meringue will shrink from the edges if you don't.
  • Bake in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes, til golden brown. If you've tall peaks, watch closely for browning of the tips. They can brown really fast.
  • Remove from oven and cool on countertop. Serve warm or put in refrigerator when completely cool to keep meringue from sweating.

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I am studying as a chef, but have been a baker for years and years. Cakes, cookies, wedding cakes (baking and decorating), pastries, candies, name it...I've probably made it. I planted an herb garden 2 seasons ago and really enjoyed it and having been doing so ever since. I had fresh herbs all summer long and an abundance to dry and "put up" for the winter. Nothing beats your own fresh rosemary, basil, thyme and savory, sage, mint, oregano. I have five huge rosemary bushes that are thriving outside, despite frigid weather (it's quite hardy!). Rosemary is probably my favorite herb. I love to infuse oils...the safe way. I infuse them right before I cook with them, either with garlic or herbs or both. I love making simple syrups (I always use the 2 to 1 ratio: 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of IS a syrup). I love it in hot tea and in a variety of drinks...even homemade ice creams. I've infused simple syrups with rosemary, lemon, apple mint, lime and lavender. All were fantastic with a cup of, for instance, blood orange/pomegranate green tea, or even basic teas or plain green teas. They do wonders for iced teas also. Try sweetening your lemonade with a basil simple syrup, it's great! I always have them on hand. They take up a huge amount of refrigerator space, but I cannot do without them. I am an amateur photographer and just got my new Canon XSi 450D Rebel and am having such a great time with it. I'm currently experimenting with macro photography with some great lens diopters. So when I make a recipe and it comes out looking nice, I'll have a really detailed picture of it, lol. More as time goes by. This was a quick jot. I Was Adopted banner: <img src="">
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