Heavenly Meringue Topped Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

Let’s talk about Banana Pudding. The real deal, not what I seem to be encountering recently. The Southern iconic dessert I grew up eating in West Tennessee, made by both my Grandmother and Mother, started with a homemade vanilla custard pudding layered with vanilla wafer cookies and lots of bananas, topped with peaks of meringue baked until golden brown and is my absolute favorite dessert.

How and when banana pudding recipes took a wrong turn I cannot say, but they did so, along with homemade fudge and biscuits.  The list could go on and on, but that is for another day.

Often what is  called banana pudding is made with store-bought custard or pudding mixed with a pre-made whipped topping, a scant representation of wafer cookies and bananas added to the mix and topped with additional whipped topping. Not whipped cream, but whipped topping. This is not banana pudding, this is a dessert made with bananas and some fake stuff.

This recipe for banana pudding is so easy you may not even have to go to the grocery except to buy the vanilla wafers and bananas! The rest is just basic pantry ingredients.

I use “Nilla Vanilla Wafers”, ripe, but not over ripe, bananas, egg yolks for the pudding and the whites for the topping. The pudding takes only minutes to thicken and the meringue takes even less time to whip. From start to finish you will spend about 30 minutes to create this heavenly delicious dessert.

A generous portion of all the ingredients layered in a deep dish….

….egg whites, vanilla extract and sugar whipped together until the meringue “holds a peak” and is piled on top, ready for the oven.

Golden browned meringue to die for. Eat it warm from the oven or chilled. Heavenly good.

Heavenly Meringue Topped Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar for pudding + 1/4 cup sugar for the meringue
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 5-6 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 box vanilla wafer cookies (you will need about 30-40 depending on your baking dish shape)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in the top of a double boiler pan.
  3. Whisk in the milk and egg yolks. Turn heat to medium high. Cook over boiling water, whisking constantly for about 10-12 minutes or until custard pudding has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  4. Beginning with a layer of pudding on the bottom of the baking dish, add a layer of wafer cookies and then a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat layering until your dish is filled, finishing with a layer of pudding. How many layers will depend on shape and size of dish you use. I used a 2 quart deep casserole dish.
  5. In a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, slowly add in 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, beating the meringue hold a stiff peak. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Top banana pudding with all the meringue, creating “meringue peaks” with the back of a spoon and “sealing” the meringue to the edges of the filling. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until meringue is golden browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temp or chilled. Keeps a few days in the refrigerator.

Based on the basic recipe on the side of the box of Nabisco Nilla Wafer cookies sold everywhere.

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Deliciously Easy Chocolate Meringue Tarts

Life can get crazy hectic this time of year can’t it? One day it is summer weather all casual and laid back and the next thing you know it is wintry weather with lots of layers needed for venturing out. Along with that,  “The Holidays”.  I try to keep this time of the year as laid back as possible. I have never been a perfectionist and for that I am thankful.  This works well during the Holidays.  When it comes to Holiday cooking,  I go for delicious and simple, not fussy. These little chocolate meringue tarts are all of those things.

The tart shells were store-bought then filled with a simple dark chocolate pudding and topped with a meringue. That’s it. I try to cut down on the “crazy” any way I can.

Sometimes you just can’t wait.

Deliciously Easy Chocolate Meringue Tarts

Ingredients:

  • 10 pre-made mini tart shells (fresh, boxed or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 eggs – yolks and whites separated carefully – 4 yolks for pudding
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites for meringue
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Note: or you can used meringue powder and whip according to pkg directions

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan whisk together the 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk and egg yolks until well blended.
  2. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened. This takes about 6-8 minutes. Remove pudding from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula for gently push pudding through the sieve.
  3. Immediately add butter and chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Add vanilla extract and blend well.
  4. Place mini  tart shells out on a flat tray and fill with warm pudding. Turn oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Whip egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks and then slowly add in sugar. Beat a few more minutes. Spoon meringue onto filled tarts. Place in oven and bake just until meringue starts to brown. Remove from oven to cool on a rack until ready to serve.

Note: If you have pudding left over cover and chill for later!

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