A southern favorite, deconstructed!
To celebrate Mom’s 95th Birthday!
Banana Pudding is a staple dessert in the South. It is my Mom’s favorite choice for her birthday. And at potluck family reunions in the South, you will find at least one or several. So yummy and so overly sweet. Picture: vanilla pudding with layers of ripe bananas and vanilla wafer cookies, topped with a meringue, and the whole thing goes into a hot oven for a few minutes to brown the meringue. So also picture that the bananas turn dark, and the crispy cookies turn soft, and it is so sweet your throat hurts. If you serve it immediately, it is all OK, especially if you like VERY sweet things.
In my de-constructed version, I leave out a lot of the sugar. And I also leave out the cookies and bananas, to be served separately. This keeps the bananas fresh, and the cookies crisp. SO AWESOMELY YUMMY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And a crowd pleaser, with no complaints!
So I make the vanilla pudding, top it with the meringue, bake it until golden, then serve that over a few slices of ripe banana and a few cookies. I have found this pudding recipe from Martha Stewart to be my fav:
You can make this ahead and refrigerate until ready to use. This is my version of Martha’s recipe.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups milk (if preferred, you can substitute a lactose-free product of your choice)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. If making chocolate pudding, add cocoa powder. Very gradually (a few tablespoons at a time) whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
- Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.
- Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Before serving, whisk pudding until smooth.
(adapted from the Taste of Southern website):
- 4 egg whites
- 1/8 – teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
- 1/4 – cup of Sugar – I decrease sugar to 2 tablespoons.
Place the room temperature egg whites in a glass or metal mixing bowl.
Using a mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they appear frothy in texture.
Add about 1/8th teaspoon of Cream of Tartar.
Increase mixer speed and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks.
Add the sugar. Continue to whip, increasing speed as needed until the egg whites thicken and form firm peaks. Do not over work the egg whites as it will cause them to lose volume.
Pour the cooled pudding into a casserole dish, with room on top for the meringue.
Use a spatula and gently spread the meringue over the pudding mixture.
Gently dab the spatula up and down in the meringue to form small swirls and peaks.
Place the dish in the preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch it carefully so the egg white meringue doesn’t burn. It just needs to be slightly toasted and browned.
Remove from oven, let cool, refrigerate until cold then serve.
Spoon the pudding and meringue over a few slices of ripe bananas and vanilla wafer cookies (gluten-free ones work well, too) in each dish and enjoy.
For my mother’s birthday, I tripled the recipe, so I used a full dozen eggs! (pictured above). For the meringue, I didn’t use more than ½ cup of sugar for the 12 egg whites. And it was quite sweet enough!