One can’t be a good Southerner and not like banana pudding. It just isn’t possible. Of course, there are as many ways to make it as there are amens in a Baptist church. Many a relationship has been torn asunder because someone else didn’t make it the way their mama used to make it.
My mom makes it following the recipe on the box of ‘Nilla wafers. While I like that way fine (and always have room for second helpings), I take it a step or two farther. For one, I roast about half the bananas and mix them in with the custard to make the pudding really banana-y. Second, I’m not a meringue fan, so I prefer a whipped cream topping.
45 Nilla wafers, divided
6 ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped topping ingredients
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Start by roasting 3 of the bananas – heat oven to 325 degrees. Place 3 unpeeled bananas on baking sheet and bake until skins are completely black, about 20 minutes. Let cool to the touch. Peel and slice remaining bananas and set aside.
Meanwhile, mix sugar, flour and salt on top of double boiler. Blend 3 egg yolks into the half and half and then stir into the dry ingredients. Bring the water in the bottom of the double boiler to a boil and cook uncovered, stirring constantly for 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Transfer pudding to food processor. Add warm peeled roasted bananas and process until smooth.
Spread small amount of custard on bottom of 2 quart casserole, cover with a layer of wafers and a layer of sliced bananas. Pour about half of custard over bananas and continue to layer, ending with custard.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly or refrigerate.
For the Whipped Topping – With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. (Whipped cream can be refrigerated for 4 hours.) Top banana pudding with whipped cream. Serve.