Old Fashioned Banana Pudding!
There is something about Spring and especially Easter that makes me want to make a
banana pudding. I like all banana pudding, the cold,
pudding based ones, the layered trifle ones like my
White Chocolate Caramel Banana Pudding, but sometimes I just want a good old fashioned, cooked banana pudding with a meringue on it. It's the kind of banana pudding I grew up with. I want to eat it slightly warm the first time and if we are lucky enough have leftovers, cold out of the fridge the next day. This is the banana pudding that is pure comfort food.
I think those who have not attempted this variety of banana pudding might be a little intimidated by it, but don't be, it's not that difficult. If it's the meringue that just really has you not even attempting it, I am going to take you step by step through a 'how to make meringue' guide and you will be making meringue that will rival your grandma's or your neighborhood bakery or whoever you used to know who made meringue. It's not that hard with a few easy tips. If you don't care for meringue or just cannot convince yourself to attempt it, top it with whipped cream and it will still be excellent.
Here is what you will need:
6 Tbs. butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbs. flour
pinch of salt
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3/4 cup water
4 egg yolk, save whites for the meringue
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz.) box of vanilla wafers
4 bananas, sliced
4 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. vanilla
Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks until they are a lemon yellow. Set the whites aside for meringue.
In saucepan over medium heat melt butter, stir in brown and white sugars, flour and salt until sugar is dissolved. Slowly add in the evaporated milk and water. Whisk until it just starts to boil, turn the heat down a bit and whisk and cook it for about 15 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat our spoon really well. You will need to whisk this the whole time or it will stick. If you are not good at whisking for 15 minutes constantly, you can put this in a double boiler. I never do, but I have done this quite a few times in my life. Take a little of the hot custard and stir it into the egg yolks to temper them before adding them to the pan. Once you have done this, you can add the egg yolks to the warm pudding mixture. Whisk them in for about two minutes to cook them. Remove from heat and add in the 2 tsp. vanilla.
Line a 2 quart casserole or baking dish with half of the vanilla wafers. Layer two of the sliced bananas next.
Pour half of the pudding mixture over the bananas.
Repeat all of the layers again, ending with the pudding. You will notice
the slightly caramel color of my pudding. That is the brown sugar and to me
it just makes it really special.
For the meringue, add 1 tsp. of baking powder to the egg whites and start to beat the whites with an electric mixer on high. Gradually add in 4 Tbs. of sugar, continuing to beat. When stiff peaks start to form (this takes some time) add in 1 tsp. of corn starch and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Don't go too heavy on the vanilla or it will change the color of your meringue or use the colorless. Make sure your bowl and beaters are completely clean and dry before you start making the meringue. Any oil or residue will cause the meringue not to be high and light. Meringue also does better if you use eggs that have been out of refrigerator for an hour or so and are not cold.
This is my mother's tried and true meringue and it is wonderful. You know how they always told you that you have to buy that expensive can of cream of tartar to use, maybe once or twice, you don't. This uses what you have on hand, baking powder and soda, and they are not expensive! Shhhh....don't tell everyone, it's Mama's secret!
This is how your meringue looks when it's stiff enough.
Spread the meringue over the pudding, making sure to seal it to the edges of the dish all the way around. That just means to not leave any air pockets or gaps around the edges. When your meringue shrinks back or pulls away from the sides or sinks in the middle, it's because you have not 'sealed' it to the edges and have left spaces open. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes or until it just starts to brown. Watch it carefully!
Old Fashioned Banana Pudding!