Okay, grandkids, today we are going to make an old-fashioned banana pudding, grandma’s way, not that new fangled stuff they make with instant pudding and phony whipped cream. Phooey! Ours will be made from scratch – real pudding made on the stove and real meringue on top.
Here’s what we need, a baking dish, a bowl and a large pot. Let’s make a big one. Banana pudding will not last long. Measure out 1-1/2 cups of sugar. That’s okay; we can clean up the spills later. Now we need 4 eggs, and this is the tricky part; we have to separate the yokes from the whites.
Crack the egg and let the white part run out. Oh, we need the bowl. Whew, that was close. Now put the yoke in the other half of the eggshell and separate the rest. See? You try it now. Crack it carefully, and… Uh oh, the yoke broke. Oh me, the whites will not beat up fluffy with yellow in them. We will try and get it out with a spoon.
Put the sugar in the pot, and stir the egg yokes into the dry sugar. That’s a little grandma trick to make the egg mix in. Now stir in 2/3-cup flour, and 4 cups of milk. Just add a little of each at the time and stir it in, so it will mix.
Okay, put the heat on medium and cook. We have to stir it the whole time or it could burn. While grandma stirs, you can fix the wafers and bananas. Make a layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of the baking dish, and then a layer of sliced bananas. You did remember to wash your hands first… I hope?
Oh, the pudding is boiling. It’s sticking to the bottom? Stir! We have to cook it until it boils gets thick and then 2 minutes extra. Why? I don’t know why. Don’t question me now while I’m busy.
Grandma will take it off the heat, and add 4 tablespoons of butter and a dash or two of vanilla. As long as it doesn’t taste scorched, we can still use it. We will pour half over the wafers and bananas. Yes, I know we are using store-bought wafers. It is not going to be THAT homemade. Now, make another layer of wafers and another layer of banana and pudding. Hurry before the pudding gets cool.
You can lick the pot while grandma makes meringue. See: whip the egg whites with a fourth teaspoon of cream of tartar, another little grandma secret. When they are fluffy, we will add a teaspoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of sugar for each egg. Why are they not getting fluffy? It must be that yoke that got in the mix. What a mess.
Throw it away and get some more eggs out. Grandma doesn’t remember it being this difficult when she used to make it. We will beat until peaks form and add the sugar. Now, spread on top of the pudding. You can use your finger to make peaks in the meringue. No! Don’t lick you finger first!
Grandma will put it in the oven and let the meringue brown for 10 or 15 minutes. We can clean up some of this mess while we wait for it to finish. Let’s check it. Eeek! It’s burning!
Get out of way and let grandma get it out of the oven. I don’t understand it. It was only in there for 10 minutes. Well, it is a bit brown, but not too bad. Thank goodness we checked when we did or it would have been a burnt offering.
When it cools a while, we can eat it. Grandma feels a bit dizzy. Must be from standing over the heat. Grandma better sit down for a while before she faints and falls into the pudding. We have had enough disasters for one day already.
It does look pretty good. Maybe grandma can make a cook out of you yet. The next time, though, we will just use instant pudding and artificial whipped cream. The old way is too much trouble.
©2004 Sheila Moss
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The ingredients are correct. Don’t pay any attention to the rest of that stuff.