My Grandmother’s Banana Pudding

http://twocooksonepot.com Homemade Banana Pudding

A few weeks ago my aunt gave me an unexpected gift that I’ll treasure forever: the bowl that my grandmother used to make her homemade banana pudding. That bowl has been around longer than I have (according to my aunt my grandmother bought it sometime in the 1950s), and appeared at every large family get-together until my grandmother passed away.

To quote a phrase from an old Kris Kristofferson song, my grandmother was a “walking contradiction.” She had an old-fashioned first name and lived out in the piney woods of east Texas, but there was so much more to her than that. In addition to the typical things you’d expect from a “country grandma” like the quilts she made and her perfect fried chicken, she also introduced me to a little more culture than I otherwise would have been exposed to.

She had old 78RPM records of Edith Piaf, Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats. Her favorite artist was Vincent Van Gogh (so much so that she even spent a few months in France visiting some of the places he painted), and after a weeklong visit to her small house in the woods one summer I discovered a book she had on his work and he became my favorite artist, too. She worked the New York Times crossword puzzle in pen, went deer hunting by herself every year until she was in her mid sixties, and instead of plodding along the highway at the stereotypical slow speeds associated with the elderly she instead chose to drive like a bat out of hell, keeping a keen eye out for state troopers.

http://twocooksonepot.com My Grandmother's Banana Pudding

This is my take on my grandmother’s banana pudding, using homemade vanilla wafers instead of the store-bought kind, but otherwise pretty spot on. The creamy, warm pudding softens the vanilla wafers just right, so that they are firm enough to add the perfect amount of texture to each bite.

My Grandmother’s Banana Pudding

Slice three medium sized bananas, about a quarter of an inch thick, and set aside.

http://twocooksonepot.com separate the eggs

http://twocooksonepot.com add milk

Combine sugar, flour, cream of tartar and salt in a saucepan. Separate 4 eggs and add the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and bubbles around the edges. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.

Spread a little of the pudding in the bottom of an oven safe bowl, then add a single layer of  vanilla wafers, bananas  and pudding. In subsequent layers, add vanilla wafers to the perimeter of the bowl.

http://twocooksonepot.com assemble the banana pudding

For the meringue, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add about 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue whisking until the peaks are stiff enough to stand on their own. Spoon the meringue over the pudding, all the way to the edge of the bowl.

http://twocooksonepot.com cover with meringue

At this point you can bake it in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven until the meringue is a deep, golden brown (ten to fifteen minutes), or you can use a torch to lightly brown the meringue. I usually bake it, but since my grandmother’s bowl is meant to hold enough pudding to feed a small army and I was cooking for two, I picked a smaller bowl and decided to try torching the meringue.

This recipe is one of the reasons I like to cook so much. Most traditional dishes connect us to those that came before us, and this dish in particular brought back so many wonderful, warm memories of my grandmother.

Will

My Grandmother's Banana Pudding
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is my take on my grandmother's banana pudding. The creamy, warm pudding softens the vanilla wafers just enough so that they are firm enough to add the perfect amount of texture to each bite.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick.
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla wafers
Instructions
  1. Slice three medium sized bananas, about a quarter of an inch thick, and set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, cream of tartar and salt in a saucepan. Separate 4 eggs and add the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and bubbles around the edges. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
  3. Spread a little of the pudding in the bottom of an oven safe bowl, then add a single layer of vanilla wafers, bananas and pudding. In subsequent layers, add vanilla wafers to the perimeter of the bowl. End with a layer of pudding.
  4. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add about 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue over the pudding, all the way to the edge of the bowl.
  5. At this point you can bake it in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven until the meringue is a deep, golden brown (ten to fifteen minutes), or you can use a torch to lightly brown the meringue. I usually bake it, but since my grandmother's bowl is meant to hold enough pudding to feed a small army and I was cooking for two, I picked a smaller bowl and decided to try torching the meringue.