In the South, we tend to stick to tradition.
Understatement of the century.
You can’t have a Church picnic without Aunt Sally’s ambrosia salad, don’t even think about hosting a bridal luncheon without cheese straws on the buffet table, we wear sundresses and heels to football games on Saturday afternoons, and it is simply against our religion to even think about serving unsweetened iced tea to company. I mean, who even has heard of such a thing?
But, every now and again, it is good to shake things up in the Southern culinary world.
My Datdat’s favorite thing in the world is Banana Puddings, so needless to say I have made it a bunch! I have tinkered with the recipe over the years and have found the perfect blend of both tradition and my more modern tastes. This is not yo’ Mamma’s recipe for Banana Pudding.
A Still Magnolia’s Banana Pudding
It’s old-fashioned and remembered flavors, but brought into in the 21st century.
- 1-2 bags Pepperidge Farms Chessmen cookies (we like a lot of cookies!)
- 4 bananas, sliced and tossed in just a squirt of fresh lemon juice to prevent browning
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, seperated
- 2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 cups whole milk
- 4 egg yolks (save those whites!)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 stick butter, unsalted
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
Now that you have all the troops assembled, let’s begin…
1. Mix together 1 cup sugar and cornstarch and slowly add milk. This should be cooked in the top of a double boiler, but you can cook it over low to medium heat like I did, stirring constantly until it thickens–do not leave it unattended. I start with a whisk to ensure the pudding remains nice and smooth and finish with a spatula. When your mixture coats the spatula, you have reached the perfect consistency! It is the most delicious custard!
2. Seperate the eggs. Slightly beat egg yolks and temper with a small amount of the hot custard; stir well. Add egg mixture to custard pot and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Let cool.
3. In a 9 by 9-inch oven proof baking dish, alternate pudding, bananas, and cookies, beginning with a cookie crust and ending with pudding and bananas.
4. For the meringue topping, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form, mix in a small pinch of salt, then spread onto top of pudding mixture. Bake until golden brown.
My family prefers the warm meringue topping, but if you prefer sweetened whipped cream, there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
Beat 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and beat until luxurious thick peaks. Spread on the top of the pudding, top with a sprinkling of crushed cookies, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Variations- I have also added canned and drained pineapple tidbits to this recipe as well. Just add the pineapple chunks when you add the bananas. Nothing wrong with that at all! Pineapple adds another great texture and a sweet and bright flavor.
Have a wonderful, tasty weekend!