Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Banana Pudding

Bananas are a hot item in our house. All you have to do is mention the word, and Zac will yell, "Nana! Nana! Nana!" until either 1) You give him a banana or 2) you distract him with chocolate.  We go through bananas so quickly. I almost never make banana bread anymore because the bananas don't have a chance to over ripen. 

The other day, I had to plan to make banana pudding. To ensure we still had some left four days later, I bought a huge bunch of yellow bananas and an even huger bunch of green bananas.

And I had to keep Zac out of the kitchen.

Original Nilla Banana Pudding
3/4 cup sugar, divided                                1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour                             45 NILLA Wafers, divided
Dash salt                                                     5 ripe bananas, sliced (about 3 1/2 cups), divided
3 eggs, separated                                        Additional NILLA Wafers and banana slices, for garnish
2 cups milk

1. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Blend in 3 egg yolks and milk. Cook, uncovered, over boiling water, stirring constantly for 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
2. Reserve 10 wafers for garnish. Spread small amount of custard on bottom of 1 1/2-quart casserole; cover with a layer of wafers and a layer of sliced bananas. Pour about 1/3 of custard over bananas. Continue to layer wafers, bananas and custard to make a total of 3 layers of each, ending with custard.
3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Spoon on top of pudding, spreading evenly to cover entire surface and sealing well to edges.
4. Bake at 350°F in top half of oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Cool slightly or refrigerate. Garnish with additional wafers and banana slices just before serving.

My "double boiler"

We actually still had 5 bananas left!

Layer the pudding, cookies, and bananas.

Layer . . . layer some more.

End with cookies on top.

It ain't purdy, but it sure do taste good!
As you can see, I did not follow the recipe. First of all, this is not the recipe I always use. That one grew legs and walked right out of my recipe binder. That's the only logical explanation for why it was not there. I know I didn't misplace it or anything.

Carrying on . . .  My usual recipe uses a cook & serve box of pudding, not making the pudding from scratch. No problem, I thought. I've done that hundreds of times . . . give or take a few dozen. I've always made it directly in the pot though. This double boiler thing was not cutting it for me. My "pudding" was soup 30 minutes later. I added 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch. Soup. More cornstarch. Soup. I finally poured the whole thing right into the pot. Pudding! 

Then, I began to layer my star ingredients. I quickly realized that the meager amount of pudding was not going to be enough. Reflecting back on the past 40 minutes, I knew I did not want to make more of the same pudding, tasty as it was. On to Plan B: boxed pudding. All I found in the pantry was butterscotch and french vanilla. Though I'm sure my family would have loved the butterscotch, I chose the latter. Also, I used only 3 bananas. Why did I use this recipe again?

The dessert was delicious in the end, despite the frustration of the process. To us, you can't top banana pudding with meringue. It needs, dare I say deserves, a great big ol' dollop of Cool Whip plopped down on top. For Leighton, it's half pudding, half Cool Whip. For me, it's half mushy cookie, part pudding, more musy cookie. 

And for Zac, it's all banan . . . nope it's just ALL.
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