Name That Fruit — BANANA
On this date in 1633, the first bananas were sold in London, England, by Thomas Johnson, who is known by scientists as “the father of British field botany”. You can read all about it, here. I can’t say that bananas are my favorite fruit; they’re not.
I do love my mom’s banana pudding, though (the one with the meringue). It wasn’t completely made from scratch, but her love made it home-made. The layers of vanilla wafers, bananas and warm vanilla pudding, oh my! The desert itself, heated in the oven while the egg whites browned, so when it got to the table, it was just the right amount of warmth to cozy my taste-buds.
It was a once-a-month Sunday family dinner desert staple. I even remember the dish she always used; a blue and white, deep-dish Pyrex Ovalware baking dish. Every time I saw her take that dish from the cabinet, I knew we were having banana pudding or my mom’s peach cobbler. The cobbler was my most cherished oven desert, especially with real vanilla ice cream; but, we only had that when peaches were in season. I haven’t come across this baking dish during our “Super Spring Clean-Up” currently happening in our house, but when I do, memories will flood in. That piece of my mom’s cookware is my favorite and has so much meaning to my childhood. Scroll down for my mom’s simple warm banana pudding recipe. I can’t give you her peach cobbler recipe. That, she’s passing down to her grand-kids. But, here are two peach cobbler recipes, quick or skinny, that are almost as good. So, don’t monkey around, today. Make a banana pudding (or any of the banana recipes below) tonight for your family or yourself. While you’re cooking, enjoy a little Shirley Ellis singing her “Name Game.” or Jessica Lange’s version from American Horror Story.
Mama’s Simple Baked Banana Pudding
- 4-6 ripe bananas (depending on size)
- 1 box vanilla wafers (45-60 ct)
- 2 sm (4.6 oz) boxes of cook & serve vanilla pudding (follow package directions)
- 4 c whole milk (for pudding mix)
- 3 egg whites (room temperature; about 30 min)
- 3/4 c white granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar (okay to omit, but helps the meringue become stiffer)
- 1 Tbs lemon juice (or Ball Fruit Fresh brand fruit produce protector)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pudding according to directions and set aside. Slice bananas in 1/4″ slices, toss with lemon juice, set aside. My mom prefers Ball Fruit Fresh and sprinkles a bit over each layer of bananas as she is putting the recipe together. I lost my job hand-juicing the lemons after she discovered it.
In a 2-qt baking dish, begin layering vanilla wafers across the bottom and slightly up the sides. Next, create a layer of banana slices and cover with pudding. Repeat these steps until you are at the top, ending with an extra layer of vanilla wafers. Mom says the meringue spreads better when the cookies are on top instead of the pudding being on top. My brother and I didn’t care how it was put together. We knew we would get the remaining bananas, pudding and cookies. We would make little banana pudding sandwiches out of the leftovers.
Once the layers are done, set the dish aside. Using a stand or hand mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and beat again until soft peaks form. With mixer on high, gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue across top of banana/cookie mixture, making sure to spread to edges of dish to seal. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until peaks are browned. Watch meringue for overcooking, as oven temperatures vary. Let sit 15 minutes before serving and refrigerate any leftovers. Can be easily rewarmed in the microwave or served cold. I don’t think we really ever had too much make it to the fridge.
Try one of these other great recipes & celebrate the banana: