Like most bloggers, I've got a very long list of recipes in the queue waiting to be posted. Many have been waiting since I first started blogging over 5 years ago, and many have jumped the queue because of some trend in the food world that needed to be addressed. While many of them will have to wait a bit longer, the one whose time has come is today's recipe for banana nut pudding.
I have loved banana pudding ever since I was a little girl. Summer in Texas always meant a pitcher of tea on the counter and a bowl of banana pudding chilling in the fridge. The anticipation of that pudding cooling in the refrigerator, knowing it was for dessert that night, was almost more than a any kid could bear.
The reason the time was right for this banana pudding post was because one of the big magazine sites posted a recipe for their ideal southern banana pudding a couple of weeks ago. Everything looked really great about their recipe with the exception of the whipped cream topping.
I couldn't believe the amount of likes and comments they got, because everyone in the southern part of the United States knows that real banana pudding has meringue on top not whipped cream. After reading this I knew that the time was right to give the innocent banana pudding eaters across the world my version. Don't get me wrong, mine isn't exactly authentic either with my addition of coconut, pecans and a cookie swap out, but there is nothing better than a fluffy, sugary meringue sitting on top.
Even though it is delicious for days, I prefer to serve my banana pudding within a day of when I make it because the bananas have a tendency to brown pretty quickly. It still tastes great, but we all know that we eat with our eyes first. I've even tried adding a little citrus juice to it to keep the bananas pale and yellow, but I just didn't like the flavor. So make it today and gobble it up tonight or tomorrow.
Banana Nut Pudding
Some years ago, Oprah's chef Art made banana pudding on her show and used pecan shortbread cookies in lieu of vanilla wafers. I was moved to give it a try and fell in love at first bite. I still like vanilla wafers and do use them about half the time, but between these cookies, the coconut, and the nuts, you have a delicious banana pudding that is just a little bit different, and I think we all need to change things up every now and then.
About 16 pecan shortbread cookies (I used Pecan Sandies. If you are using vanilla wafers, you'll need the better part of a box)
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar, plus 4 tablespoons for meringue
2 tablespoons corn starch
Pinch of salt
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter (I chose to use Epicurean Butter's FABULOUS maple syrup flavored butter)
2 small to medium size bananas
1/3 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened angel flake), divided
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Line a 2 quart size bowl or heat proof dish with your cookies; set aside.
Place egg yolks in a medium size bowl, beat slightly; set aside.
Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium size sauce pan. Slowly stir in the milk. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer while whisking constantly. Cook until mixture thickens.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot pudding into the egg yolk while stirring vigorously to temper the yolks (If you skip this step you will land up with sweetened scrambled eggs, I promise.) Add another 1/2 cup or so just to make sure; stir well. Slowly add this mixture back into the pudding in the pan, while stirring constantly. Cook for 2 more minutes before removing from the heat and stirring in the vanilla extract and butter; set aside.
Peel your bananas and slice in 1/4" to 1/2" size "coins". Sprinkle half of them over the top of the cookies.
Spoon 1/2 of the pudding over the cookies and banana slices.
After reserving about a tablespoon of the coconut for garnish, sprinkle the remainder over the pudding. Next sprinkle the coconut with the pecans the remaining bananas, and a few broken up cookies before covering with the remainder of the pudding. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside while you prepare the meringue.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place egg whites in a large bowl. Add the cream of tartar before beating them with an electric mixer set to high. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Remove the plastic wrap from the pudding and spoon meringue over the top. Smooth it over the pudding and sprinkle with the reserved coconut before placing it in the oven. Watching carefully, cook the meringue just until it is brown on the peaks. Remove and cool.
Serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator. Like I said before, I prefer to eat it on the same day I make it, but it is also delicious for the next couple of days, it just doesn't look as pretty as it did on day one.
Easily serves 8
*I was given samples of Epicurean Butter to use in my recipes. I was in no way compensated in any way for this post and all opinions stated here are my own. To find our more about Epicurean Butter, please click here.