It's a dessert that Southerners love and there are many recipes for it.....and you need vanilla wafers and bananas to make it. Naturally, I'm talking about "Banana Pudding"! This is an old favorite that many southern cooks have their own special recipe for. This luscious combination of bananas, vanilla wafers and vanilla custard and topped with meringue has been known to cause feuds in many families when it comes down what the best way to prepare it is!
Many recipes over the years for banana pudding are of the typical formula I described. Yet, in the 1970's, a short-cutted recipe for this treat circulated in which instant vanilla pudding, sour cream, milk and whipped topping were combined and layered with the vanilla wafers and sliced bananas. It would then be topped with whipped topping. Some people really enjoy this type of pudding, though many seem to strongly lean toward the version that's cooked completely from scratch.
That's what I'm passing along today, the made-from-scratch version. This is a very typical banana pudding and if you've never had a true banana pudding recipe, let this one be it! You most likely have everything on hand to make this dessert, so you can tell it's a very down-to-earth and economical recipe. So, let's go over how to make "Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding"!
First, you will make the vanilla pudding that's layered with the bananas and vanilla wafers. You combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Then, you beat together egg yolks and milk and gradually stir into the dry mixture. This is now cooked over medium heat, stirring often, until it thickens. It's now removed from the heat and vanilla is stirred in.
Now, you begin to build this masterpiece! You start with a layer of vanilla wafers, followed by a layer of sliced bananas, then half of the custard. This is repeated. Finally, for the meringue, you beat the egg whites leftover from the egg yolks you used, along with some sugar. This goes over the pudding and it's baking until browned. Some cooks like to serve it warm, but it can be served cool, if you choose.
The only real drawback to a made-from-scratch banana pudding is that it doesn't keep well. It's typically best the same day it's served. If you do have leftovers, cover and chill what you have left. Any leftover pudding should keep for about a day.
Also, you'll see in the recipe that there's no amount of vanilla wafers or bananas given. This is how the recipe was given to me, but I've found that one box of the wafers and about three bananas would work just fine. You can use any serving dish you'd like: a trifle bowl, a shallow casserole dish or a pretty glass bowl would work great for this pudding.
If you happen to have some bananas that are about to become too ripe, you can still use them! Last year, I shared a recipe for "Frozen Banana Salad", which would help you use some or all of the bananas you have on hand. To get the recipe, follow this link:
If you've never had banana pudding, let this be your signature recipe! If you've had it before, but would like a reliable recipe, here's one for you!
OLD-FASHIONED BANANA PUDDING
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- vanilla wafers
- 3 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons sugar
Combine 1-1/4 cups sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan or double boiler. Beat the egg yolks with the milk well and gradually add to the dry mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. In a medium sized casserole dish or bowl, place a layer of vanilla wafers, followed by a layer of bananas, then half of the custard. Repeat this step again.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over pudding, sealing the edges of the dish. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes or until browned. Serve warm or cool. Yield: about 6-8 servings.