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Traditional Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

When I was a child, my grandmother would always make my favorite dessert when we came to visit. By the way, she made EVERY grandchild’s favorite. Her chest freezer sat in her dining room, and when we arrived it would be covered by a tablecloth, displaying an assortment of desserts that boggled the mind. Every grandchild would find their favorite among the offerings, accompanied by her pound cake and a few others for the adults. She must have baked all week prior to our arrival.

I always requested Banana Pudding. She would make a large pan of Banana Pudding crowned with meringue. To this day, I cannot see a bunch of bananas without thinking of her banana pudding. When bananas were scarce or too expensive, she would use drained canned pineapple (crushed). That was excellent, also.

I admit that I am a lazy cook. Usually I will leave off the meringue. But you should try it this way- it is worth it.

Banana Pudding Recipe

Banana Pudding--Thee Southern Dessert
Banana Pudding--The Southern Dessert (Photo credit: Old Shoe Woman)

2 Tablespoons self-rising flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounce package vanilla wafers- a good quality wafer
3 large bananas
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place flour, sugar and salt into a heavy saucepan, stir well and set aside.
3. Beat the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl at high speed of an electric mixer until foamy, add milk, mix well.
4. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture and cook over MEDIUM heat, stirring constantly until thick and smooth.
5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
6. Layer the vanilla wafers alternately with the bananas in a 1 ½ quart baking dish, beginning with wafers. Put down 1 layer of wafers, then a single layer of bananas, more wafers, more bananas, so on until all the wafers and bananas are used.
7. Pour custard over the top of all so that all the bananas and wafers are covered. You want the pudding to run down between the cookies and cover all. Usually I will shift them around slightly with a knife to allow the custard to run down into all.
8. Beat the egg whites at high speed of electric mixer for 1 minute. Then gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, beating constantly until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. This may take 2-5 minutes. Peaks should be stiff enough to hold their own when the beaters are lifted.
9. Spread meringue over pudding, pushing it all the way to the edge of the casserole dish to seal.
10. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes until the meringue is golden brown.

NOTES: Some cooks add the pudding between the layers: 1 layer cookies, l layer banana, 1 layer pudding. I usually layer the cookies and bananas first then make the meringue, then the pudding, this way it is poured over the cookies while hot. The pudding will thicken as it cools.

Safety Note on Meringue: Since meringue is not thoroughly cooked there is a chance of salmonella using raw egg whites. Instead, use pasturized eggs or powdered egg whites (reconstituted) to make your meringue.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON MERINGUE: The egg whites must be beat with an absolutely clean and grease free beater and bowl. Don’t use a plastic bowl as they tend to harbor a layer of grease that never comes out. You have to clean the beaters thoroughly after the pudding is made, before making the meringue.

Note on making the pudding: You tend to get tired of stirring the pudding, and want to increase the heat to high. Don’t! If you get impatient and increase the heat, you risk burning the pudding.

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