This Southern staple is the perfect dessert for a crowd.
In the South bananas are not just a fruit you eat on the go or serve alongside pancakes. We prefer to slice them and sandwich them on bread with peanut butter or bake them with walnuts into savory bread or, best of all, layer them up with wafers and custard into the deliciousness that is banana pudding.
Universally loved, this sweet dessert can be prepared a number of ways. The easiest way to make banana pudding is with a few sliced bananas, a box of vanilla pudding, wafers and a tub of whipped cream, but I prefer to make it from scratch. My homemade custard and browned meringue add extra love to the dish.
Church picnics, funerals, family gatherings, tailgating—these key Southern social events tie people together and create strong food memories, and banana pudding is ideal for serving at them. It’s easy to make, and, particularly, to make in bulk. It is easy to serve as you can bring it in big pans or bowls, and you don’t have to keep it warm.
My father-in-law, Calvin, loves banana pudding. This year for his birthday I made my banana pudding recipe, assuming the family would all enjoy a helping. But he hid it away from the family in the downstairs refrigerator. The next morning I came into the kitchen and there he sat, finishing off the entire pan by himself. “This was for MY birthday right?” he said. Call it an early morning hankering or one fantastic recipe, either way, he has now requested my banana pudding every year for his birthday.
This creamy banana pudding dessert is one of the more scrumptious ways to show ’em some Southern hospitality — no matter where you’re from.
Southern Banana Pudding
- You will need a 9 x 13 dish and a hand mixer
- 1 box vanilla wafers
- 8 bananas sliced
For the Custard
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Meringue
- 5 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350degrees F.
- For thecustard, add the egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, milk, flour, salt and vanilla in a potover medium heat. Simmer until thick like pudding. Remove from heat and letcool. It will thicken even more as it cools.
- For themeringue, beat egg whites and salt with a hand mixer until frothy. Add thesugar one tablespoon at a time, mixing between until all the sugar is added andthe meringue has stiff peaks. Lastly, add the vanilla and gently fold in with aspatula.
- To assemble,layer the bottom of the dish with vanilla wafers. Layer half of the slicedbananas on top of the wafers. Spread half of the custard over the wafers andbananas. Repeat these three steps using the remainder of the wafers, bananasand custard. Top with the meringue by plopping dollops then gently spreadingthe dollops around.
- Bake for 15minutes or until the meringue has browned peaks. Store in the refrigeratorafter it has cooled.