Old Fashioned Southern Banana Pudding recipe…passed down from the great cooks in my family.
~by Sunny Love Holiday~
I remember when I was a young whippersnapper, around each holiday I would be spread out in front of my floor model TV watching cartoons in anticipation of the holiday dessert. My family has always made the black family staple, old fashioned southern banana pudding, and the wonderful recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. My grandmother would have to make three large pans, because not only would everyone in the family come to eat, but people from far and wide would come to get their piece, too. My cousins and I couldn’t wait to eat this fabulous dessert, but also couldn’t wait for us to become old enough to learn the secret recipe.
Once I became a teenager, my grandmother believed I was trustworthy enough to be, given our family’s secret recipe, so she began to teach me during the holidays until I became a perfectionist. I can clearly see her now pulling all the ingredients out, then telling me, “Now…..one of the secrets to making great banana pudding is using homemade pudding!” With much disdain on her face, she would complain that “these new age women are always trying to take shortcuts when they cook…using that Jell-O pudding crap…but they just don’t realize that when you make things from scratch, it tastes so much better!”
My grandmother was a wonderful teacher because she would allow me to do everything. She was sitting in her chair throwing commands at me, allowing me to get hands on experience in the process. Meanwhile, I was always a nervous wreck when the banana pudding came out of the oven and it was time for her taste test. She would put a small piece in her mouth and ponder for a moment before she told me precisely what I did wrong. Until one glorious day, when I was about 17 years old, she ate a piece, sat back, smiled and said ” baby girl, you got it! This is one of the best banana puddings I have ever tasted!”
Of course I was as proud as I could be, and took great joy in rubbing it in the faces of my cousins, letting them all know that I was the one that mastered the great family recipe…the one that we all longed to master.
I know what you’re thinking.. isn’t banana pudding all made pretty much the same? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not! My family has a secret ingredient that puts ours just a little bit above the rest. Now I wouldn’t be the trustworthy grandchild that my grandmother trusts so much if I were to give you all the ingredients to the secret family recipe, but I will include a recipe that is similar to it that I’m sure you and your family will enjoy!
To make the Banana Pudding’s filling, you will need:
- 3 – cups of Milk
- 1/4 – cup of All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 – cup of Sugar
- 3 – Eggs, separated
- 1 – teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- 1 – box of Vanilla Wafers
- 4-6 – ripe Bananas, sliced
For the Meringue topping, you will need:
- 1/8 – teaspoon of Cream of Tartar for the Meringue, if needed
- 1/4 – cup of Sugar for the Meringue, if needed
1.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2.Separate 3 eggs, set the whites aside for later use in the meringue.
3.Add 3 cups of milk to a medium saucepan. Place over LOW heat on your stove top.
4.Slowly add flour, whisking continually to avoid lumps.
5.Slowly stir in 1/2 cup of sugar, whisking continually until fully dissolved.
6.Use a fork and break up the egg yolks.
7.Slowly add the egg yolks to the saucepan, whisking continually to avoid making scrambled eggs. It’s very important to stay with the cooking process at this point. Keep stirring.
8.Increase the heat gradually up to about medium as you constantly whisk the pudding mixture.
9.Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture up to 170 degrees. Continue to stir it constantly as it thickens. When it reaches 170 degrees, remove from heat but continue to stir.
10.Add the teaspoon of Vanilla Extract and continue to stir off and on as it cools down. The mixture must cool down before you begin to assemble the banana pudding.
11.When fairly cool, spread a light layer of the pudding in a casserole dish.
12.Add a layer of Vanilla Wafers. Reserve about 5 or 6 wafers for topping later.
13.Add a layer of sliced bananas.
14.Add a layer of pudding mixture, spreading it out to the edges of the dish.
15.Repeat the layer process as needed, ending with a layer of the pudding mixture on top.
16.Crumble the 5 or 6 reserved wafers and sprinkle on top. If not adding the meringue, bake this at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool and serve. Hopefully you’ll try the meringue.
17.Place the room temperature egg whites in a glass or metal mixing bowl.
18.Using a mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they appear frothy in texture.
19.Add about 1/8th teaspoon of Cream of Tartar.
20.Increase mixer speed and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks.
21.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.
22.Use a spatula and gently spread the meringue over the pudding mixture.
23.Gently dab the spatula up and down in the meringue to form small swirls and peaks.
24.Place the dish in the preheated 350 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.
25.Remove from oven, let cool, refrigerate until cold then serve.