Meringue-topped warm from the oven banana pudding is a classic Southern dessert that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. If you didn’t grow up with a Grandmama fixin’ this for you, then bless your heart! 🙂
Some people take a shortcut and use instant vanilla pudding in this recipe, but I don’t. Mine is totally homemade and dairy free. This family favorite is soooooo good warm from the oven or cold from the fridge, you better hide a piece because banana puddin’ goes fast.
2 cups coconut or almond milk (Could use cow milk if you want)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vanilla wafers, about half a box
3 or 4 bananas, ripe with little brown spots on the skin
4 egg whites
5 tablespoons sugar
Combine the milk, flour, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer a few minutes until it starts to thicken, stirring the whole time. Take it off the burner.
Beat two eggs in a small bowl. Temper the eggs by stirring about 1/4 cup or so of the hot pudding into the eggs, then add it back to the pan. (Tempering eggs keeps them from turning to egg drop soup when added to the mixture. Who wants hunks of scrambled eggs in their pudding?)
Put the pan back on the burner for about three more minutes, stirring constantly, until it thickens to the right consistency. Take it off the burner and add the vanilla extract.
Spray a medium-sized casserole dish with cooking spray. Arrange a layer of vanilla wafers of the bottom, then top that with sliced bananas cut about 1/4-inch thick. Spread half the pudding on for the next layer. Repeat so you have two layers of everything.
Now for the meringue. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When you separate the eggs, be careful not to get any yolk in the whites. In a mixing bowl, beat the whites with an electric mixer. When they get frothy, add half the sugar at a time and continue beating until stiff peaks form. (If you turn the mixer off and lift the beaters out of the meringue a couple times, ‘peaks’ or little points should stand up in the mixture. If they slide back down like melted ice cream, you need to beat it a few minutes more.) You can add a pinch of salt or a little cream of tartar with the first half of sugar if you want; I didn’t, but everybody seems to have their own set way of making meringue so try it if you like.
Top the layered pudding with meringue, using a fork or the back of a spoon to make peaks. Bake until the meringue turns a pretty golden-brown, about 5-10 minutes. You don’t want to over bake it; the peaks should be darker than the rest of the meringue, which should be lighter tan to white-ish. Kind of hard to describe but you probably remember what meringue looks like, or you can refer to the pictures.
The picture above isn’t the best photography, but hey, I had to snap pics between spoon feeding my year-and-a-half-old Sophie bites of puddin’.