Here is a dessert that is made in heaven. It is Homemade Banana Pudding. If you haven’t figured it out by now in class I am teaching a unit on eggs and dairy products. This is our Swan Song. So we are learning the in’s and out’s of making a creamy pudding as well as a beautiful meringue.
First order of business is learning to separate eggs. This takes a bit of practice. For that reason I purchased a few dozen eggs to have on hand for the mistakes!
Next, some of my students even after watching me all semester will refuse to measure flour correctly. I would use a scale in class, but that would be so impractical. Very few of them have one to use at home. I pulled out my portable electric hand mixer today and many were amazed and said “We do not have one of those at our house.” It is not that they can’t afford one. Most families just do not do much cooking! SAD and I am doing my best to change that.
Last of all, making meringue can be tricky, even for a seasoned cook. So this demo was packed with a lot of information to absorb in one class period. It will be quite interesting to see the results tomorrow. I hope that I will be pleasantly surprised.
The recipe of choice appears on the box of Nabisco Nilla Wafers. The link for it is at the bottom of the post. This recipe has been around since Nilla Wafers. You cannot go wrong with this dessert. We did debate today which was best to eat the pudding while warm or to refrigerate and enjoy later. I personally like it warm, but that’s just me. Also I prefer to use canned pineapple instead of bananas. Yea, I know that’s crazy!
Using a double boiler (if you do not have one put a heat resistant dish or a metal mixing bowl over boiling water and it will work the same) mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup of all purpose flour, dash of salt, 3 egg yolks and 2 cups of milk. Stir this constantly with a wire whisk until smooth and thickened. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. This is how it should look.
To separate eggs easily they should be cold not room temperature. Put each egg white in a custard cup then put in a mixing bowl with high sides. Do not use a plastic mixing bowl. Plastic holds fat and in turn will inhibit the egg white from beating. If you get ANY egg yolk in the egg white throw all of it out. Egg yolk contains fat and also will inhibit the egg white from foaming. If you are not good at separating the egg using the shells buy an egg separator.
Once you have the eggs separated the yolks go in the pudding. While the pudding is thickening let the whites come to room temperature and this will produce more volume.
Follow the instructions for layering with wafers, bananas and pudding.
Now it is time to beat the meringue. Using a high-speed on your mixer beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. This means when the beaters are lifted the peaks will fall over. DO NOT add the 1/4 cup of sugar until the meringue is at the soft peak stage. When it has reached this stage start adding the sugar a little at the time. It will be shiny and glossy. Put a little meringue between your fingers. If you do not feel any sugar crystals and when pulling the beaters out the foam peak will stand up straight it is ready. Don’t get carried away and beat this stuff too long. It will collapse and look like you have a bowl of cottage cheese. Not a good thing! Here is what it looks like when ready to top the banana pudding.
Now spread the meringue on top of the layers. Using the backside of a large metal spoon produces swirls. Try not to make little peaks all over the top. They will look like little brown tree trunks. Not a pretty site.
Here is the pudding layered and ready for the meringue.
Top with meringue.
These are raw eggs which means before serving the pudding should be baked at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until beautifully browned.
Doesn’t this make you want to just dig in with spoon?
Here’s what one of my students did with the sample that I gave out in class.
Here is the link for the recipe from Nabisco.
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