Banana Pudding the Way Mama Should Have Made It

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.

Pudding ingredients

45 Nilla wafers, divided
6 ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
dash salt
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.

roasted banana

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.

layering bananas

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.

pudding time

Wayne’s Hickory Pit BBQ – Livingston, Louisiana

IMG_20141001_124346_901-1Driving back from Baton Rouge today, we took the scenic road home which took us past Wayne’s Hickory Pit BBQ. It is midway down S. Frost Road between Florida Blvd (190) and I-12 They offer free taste tests and there are cords of hickory wood stacked up in the back. I was very stoked by these encouraging signs.

Obviously, they haven’t spent much on ambiance. There is a serving counter where you walk in and lots of deer heads (and some longhorns) on the walls of the small dining room. However, the folks are very friendly and Wayne sits at one of the booths watching all that goes on in his place.

I ordered the bbq pork sandwich plate with fries – large pieces of meat, very juicy and smokey. One oddity was the use of mustard over bbq sauce but it went pretty well with the meat. Overall, high marks for the pork.

Michelle had the bbq beef sandwich plate with coleslaw – the meat was in smaller pieces but still quite good. Not quite as juicy as the pork, it still tasted of smoke. The coleslaw was a little salty but that was a good offset for the overfilled sandwich.

We also had the banana pudding. In a word, awesome. Might even be better than mama used to make! Fresh made as the wafers were still crisp and had a whipped cream topping.

The servers were friendly and the prices are rather good. Had it not been raining (and if we didn’t have the dog in the car), we would have gotten our meal to go as the dining room is very small. Next time, we will also give the racks of ribs a try as well.