October 04, 2004

Maya Angelou's Banana Pudding

Maya Angelou's Banana Pudding

3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
3 cups milk
8 eggs, separated
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups vanilla wafers
4 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350f. In a large saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt; stir until blended. Mix in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and boiling; boil 1 minute; then remove from heat.

2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, then whisk in about 1/2 cup of hot custard until blended. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan of custard; cook over medium heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla until blended.

3. Place vanilla wafers on bottom of a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Top with layers of banana slices and custard. Repeat layering, ending with custard.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar at low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar; increase speed to medium and gradually beat in remaining sugar. Beat until egg whites hold stiff peaks.

5. Spoon meringue over hot custard immediately, making sure that meringue touches baking dish on all sides (this prevents it from shrinking). Transfer to oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove pudding from oven and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

The pudding was quite brown only after 15 minutes - Yikes! I think next time I would bake only till tips were golden. Regardless, it tasted great. I liked that the pudding itself was just a vanilla flavor...I haven't tried other nilla wafer pudding recipes, but I always assumed they used banana flavored puddings. So, a nice surprise!

Day two taste test: As much as I loved this pudding, it’s definitely not as good on day 2. The nilla wafers turn to a grainy sorta paste. I would think this recipe would be great just minus the wafers if you planned on having leftovers.