Here in the south, desserts are plentiful! We southerners have a real sweet tooth, as evident by the number of dessert recipes you find in church and locally-produced cookbooks. Whether it’s a cake, pie, cookie or anything sweet, there is a dessert here in the south that will satisfy that sweet tooth!
One particular favorite is banana pudding. This is a long-time favorite and I really have no clue as to how or where it came about. But this luscious combination of vanilla custard, bananas, vanilla wafers and meringue is very dear to many. There are many, many recipes for this dessert, but I’m passing along one that is very basic. So, here is “Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding.”
To begin with, you make the vanilla custard. You begin with sugar and cornstarch, which you place in a heavy saucepan and mix together. You now beat together egg yolks and milk and gradually add this to the sugar mixture. This is now cooked until thickened. It’s important to stir constantly as it cooks to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking. Once this has thickened, you now add vanilla extract. Now, this is layered with vanilla wafers and sliced bananas. This is layered twice. Finally a meringue of egg whites and sugar are beaten together and spread over the pudding. This now bakes at 425 degrees until it’s browned, which takes about 10 minutes. There you have a popular, old-fashioned southern dessert!
When choosing the bananas for this pudding, I would advise using bananas that are quite firm, as they will soften as the pudding sits. However, if you plan to serve this all in one day, and you have some bananas that are a bit overripe, you might could go ahead and use them. If the bananas are too ripe, you would be best to use those in a baked good, such as a banana bread or banana cake.
In making the meringue, it’s a great idea to have your egg whites at room temperature. I would separate the eggs while cold and let them come to room temperature before starting the pudding. And naturally, you would want to be very careful to use bowls and beaters that are free of any fat or grease, since this would prevent the egg whites from beating to their maximum capacity. This is also true about getting any speck of egg yolk in the whites while separating them. I would suggest separating them in a separate bowl and placing the whites in a separate dish as you go. Then, if an egg white is tainted with egg yolk, it won’t ruin the whole batch of egg whites.
I mentioned using overripe bananas in something like a banana cake. A few years ago, I shared a great recipe for a “Banana Nut Cake”, which I gave one Easter. If you happen to have some leftover bananas that need to be used, this would be the very recipe to help you. To get the recipe, click on the embedded link.
For a taste of the old south, this would be the recipe that would give that very thing to 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 sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Beat together the egg yolks and milk. Gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened. Add the vanilla extract.
In a medium sized casserole dish or a serving bowl, place a layer of vanilla wafers, followed by a layer of bananas, then half of the custard. Repeat this again.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 3 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over the pudding and bake at 425 degrees for about ten minutes or until browned. Yield: 6-8 servings.