Classic Banana Pudding

For the pudding:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 4 large egg yolks (separate and keep whites for topping)
  • 2 cups whole milk, or almond
  • 1/2 vanilla bean split or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Freshly grated nutmeg or mace
  • 4-5 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
  • Vanilla wafer cookies, or ginger snaps, or like substitute

For the topping:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pudding:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Whisk in the egg yolks, and then the milk, vanilla beans, and nutmeg. 
  2. Place the mixture into a saucepan and cook, stirring until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon, 12 to 15 minutes. Some people use a double boiler but I haven't found it necessary. Remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean. If using vanilla extract, stir it in now.
  3. While the pudding cooks, layer the cookies in rows and bananas on top into a glass pyrex dish, 9 x 12.
  4. Once the pudding is done, pour over the bananas and chill. You can be done at this step or you can make and add the meringue topping.
  5. For the topping: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  6. Whip together egg whites until frothy, then add cream of tartar, whip til soft peaks form. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the vanilla extract. Whip until the whites form a soft peak. Spoon the meringue over the pudding.
  7. Bake the pudding for 4 minutes, or until the meringue is puffed and brown. Cool on a rack for 20 minutes, and then chill for 2 hours.

Once you have made pudding from scratch you realize how easy it is to make, and it tastes better. I'm always amazed by how the pudding tastes banana flavored even though it is just poured on top of the bananas, no mixing required.