Monday, March 17, 2014

Menu Monday - Banana Pudding

Pi/Pie day, also known as March 14, was a good day to make dessert. But, I made a pudding, not a pie. Not just any pudding, my hubby's favorite pudding - banana pudding. 

I will be truthful. His mother makes THE BEST banana pudding in the entire world. Over the years, I have tried to duplicate hers....and failed repeatedly. Mine are good.  They just aren't as good as hers. 

Recipe after recipe has been close, but not quite. Finally, I combined elements of my favorite recipes  to develop this recipe. It is the one my hubby requests now. If I put meringue on top, it would be really close to THE BEST. But, my meringue is awful, so I don't make it. 

We all have our Achilles Heel's.  Meringue is mine.  So I top my banana pudding with Whipped Cream, either from a can (like this) or if I'm really channeling Susie Homemaker, I make my own.

Here is how I make "My Banana Pudding"....
First, I crush vanilla wafers.  Some really tiny and some bigger pieces and put them in the bottom of this bowl.

Next, I thinly slice some bananas. My hubby loves bananas and he loves banana pudding, but he doesn't like a lot of bananas IN his pudding.  Go figure. Anyway, today I sliced 1.5 bananas for the pudding.  If the bananas are small, I slice two.

Next, mix the bananas with the vanilla wafers. It makes it easier later when I stir in the pudding. 

Then, I follow my Grandmother's pudding recipe for the pudding. Well, almost. I rarely have cornstarch. So, I substitute all purpose flour for the cornstarch.  
I would love to tell you where Grandmother got her recipe, but I have no idea.  She had a box of recipes that she used frequently. She pulled them out of cookbooks, magazines, newspapers, etc.  This is a copy of one of those pages.

When I make the pudding, I assemble everything by the stove so I can grab it quickly.  First, mix sugar, flour and salt, add the milk and heat. 

When the mixture starts to thicken, put a spoonful in the beaten eggs to temper them.  Scrambled eggs spoil pudding, so this is the best way to do it.  I add a spoonful at a time, until the eggs are warm.  Then, I stir the egg mixture into the pudding.

Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, until it thickens.  Then, remove from heat and add butter and vanilla flavoring. Stir until the butter melts.

Now it's time to pour the pudding over the bananas and wafers.  Sorry for the out of focus picture. It was hard to snap a picture AND pour the pudding at the same time. 

Stir pudding into the mixture, smoothing out the top and cleaning off the sides of the bowl.  Doesn't that look yummy?

Time to finish by placing vanilla wafers on top.  Or, if you prefer, top with meringue and broil until the peaks are golden brown.
Serve and enjoy!!

Here are the step by step directions.
Susan's Banana Pudding
1 cup vanilla wafers, crushed
1.5 medium bananas sliced thin
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp all purpose flour (or 2 Tbsp cornstarch)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (I use 2%)
2 slightly beaten egg yolks OR 1 well beaten egg (I use a whole egg)

2 Tbsp butter (Use the real thing, you'll be glad you did.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla wafers for topping
Meringue, optional
Whipped topping, optional

Crush the vanilla wafers and put in bottom of a bowl. Slice the banana and mix with wafers.

Next, prepare the pudding.  In a  saucepan, blend sugar, flour and salt; add milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Stir 1 Tbsp of hot mixture into eggs, adding 1-2 more Tbsp and stirring to temper the eggs.  Then, stir the egg mixture into the hot mixture. Return to heat and cook 2 minutes. 

Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.  Stir to combine and melt butter.

Pour over banana and wafer mixture, stir. 

Top with vanilla wafers.  Or, if preferred, top with meringue and broil until golden brown.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Refrigerate left overs.