|photo by Nancy Ray Photography 2011|
I am fairly certain that banana pudding is in my blood. The preference for this dessert runs deep and far back all the way to my great grandmother Callie (and unfortunately with that, type II diabetes does as well). Because of my, let’s call it, family history, I am very particular about banana pudding. Like, for example, it has to be real. Real pudding. None of this boxed, vanilla or banana flavored stuff. I am also pretty particular about banana pudding milkshakes, and let it be known that Cookout has the greatest. Chick-fil-a used to have one, but it was 100% artificial banana flavored milkshake with Nilla Wafers mixed in. Not good, people.
Marshall and I share this love of banana pudding and opted out of a wedding cake when we found out that the family catering our wedding specialized in homemade banana pudding (our awesome photographer was featured on Southern Weddings with our banana pudding, check it out here!). We actually have a framed picture of it in our bedroom, which we recently realized that out of context is a little bit strange…
All this to say, an anniversary, birthday or most recently, Memorial Day and Taco Night with our small group, is not complete without a banana pudding.
I am in the process of cutting back sugar and health-ifying meals around here, so posting this is totally and completely not helpful to the cause, but– I am willing to take one for the team. Here you have it: Really Banana Pudding (adapted from this recipe + my great grandma Callie’s).
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch salt
2 cups whole milk (or sweetened condensed milk if that’s your thing)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
30 to 40 vanilla wafers
3 to 4 medium ripe bananas
1 1/2-2 quart casserole dish (bonus points if glass)
Separate the yolks from the whites of 3 of the eggs; set aside the whites. Add the whole egg to the yolks.
In a saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the whole egg and 3 yolks, and then stir in the milk. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Will smell like heaven.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
While the oven preheats, you will layer your pudding. How you choose to layer your pudding is an individual choice. I like a good layer of vanilla wafers at the bottom (holy squishy yum) with some bananas on top of those. I also arrange the wafers around the side of the casserole dish.
Decide what your layers will be and start spreading. Wafers, bananas, pudding. Repeat. I typically do a solid 2 layers of each and end with more wafers and bananas.
To make the meringue, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff with hand or stand mixer. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites will not slide out of the mixing bowl when it is tilted.
Spread the meringue over the pudding with a spatula, and bake until the meringue is lightly browned around 5 minutes.
Serve warm and plentiful so there’s none leftover to put in the fridge. Nobody likes black bananas in their pudding. Enjoy!