Fact: banana pudding is on my list of all time favorite desserts. I can remember my parents taking me to eat at the Holiday Inn in Kannapolis, NC after church on Sundays as a child, and my favorite part of the whole experience was the little bowl of banana pudding on the dessert table. I felt so fancy, being able to eat there. As you can see, I am clearly dated to my 80's decade, and it doesn't take much to please me.
Certain treats from childhood have just stuck with me that way- rice krispie treats, banana pudding. Their appeal doesn't wane with age; they remain just as dear to my heart and palate, and maybe even get better. Do you have foods like that?
Growing up, we always made banana pudding with instant pudding mix. I didn't know of any other way to make it. Then I met Drew, and he insisted I'd been making an imposter all these years, and that the only real way to make banana pudding was to make the pudding from scratch. While I still disagree that it's the only way, homemade is hard to beat. There's a thickness and a richness to the pudding that you can't get from the boxed mix. It's so good, and it makes me sad that I don't have a bowl to eat right now.
From the Honeycutt family
4 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
3 cups milk
4 heaping TB flour
1 TB butter
1 TB vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas
Meringue (recipe to follow) or whipped cream
Take about 2-4 TB milk and pour into a small bowl. Add the flour and combine to make a slurry. In a medium pot over medium or medium low heat, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, salt, milk, and slurry. Gently heat to boiling and thickened to resemble very thick paint or thin pudding. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until mixture is smooth.
In a 1 1/2 to 2 qt casserole dish, layer vanilla wafers and bananas, layering until dish is mostly filled. This takes 2-3 bananas and about half the box of wafers. Pour pudding mixture over wafers and bananas and place in fridge overnight. When serving, top with meringue or whipped cream.
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 c confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixture, add the egg whites and beat on high, whether using a hand mixer or stand mixer. As the mixer is running and the whites are being beaten, sprinkle in the cream of tartar. When soft peaks form, stop the mixer and add the sugar and vanilla. Beat to medium-stiff peaks. Spread over the pudding and place into a 350 oven until the meringue is lightly browned.
- It is absolutely necessary for you to let your pudding "rest" in the refrigerator overnight, or for several hours. If you eat it right away, it sort of tastes floury and like paste. If you let it wait, the flour flavor mellows, the vanilla becomes more pronounced, and the wafers soften. Everything thickens and melds together and, well, it's just wonderful.
- The EdibleGivens household is divided on the meringue vs. whipped cream topping debate. Drew thinks it's meringue or nothing. I tend to prefer whipped cream. This choice, however, is an easy one. You really can't go wrong. Put the meringue on the pudding, however, right before you're going to serve it and not when you stick it into the fridge. Same with the whipped topping.