Saturday, November 1, 2014

Miss Hudson's Warm Banana Pudding

I'm not a huge fan of banana pudding, but if I'm going to eat/make it, this is the recipe I would make again.  It was an airing of this cookbook which talked me into it.  It's in a cookbook on dive diners in the south.  Honestly, given my preference, I'd eat at an authentic American dive restaurant versus a 5-star affair.  It's the ambience and the personality of these Southern Dives that defines our country for me (don't get me wrong: a 5-star restaurant has never disappointed me), I simply prefer the folks in American South diners.

Anywho....This recipe was the selling point for my buying this cookbook.  It's a charming story of a diner in Birmingham, Alabama and an elderly woman who has been making this pudding for years.  In fact, she didn't even have a recipe.  The author of the cookbook had to say "Hey, slow down....I need measurements!!!!"  It took a bit of doing, but he was finally able to nail her down and get the info he needed.  Good thing. 

I will say, you need to make and serve this in one setting.  It doesn't keep well (my dogs would disagree).  I cut the recipe in half for the two of us and next time, I'll cut that amount in half.  The bananas turn brown and, quite frankly, it's just better served warm.  The recipe comes courtesy of Ms. Hudson at Niki's West Restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama.  If you're ever there, I'd suggest stopping in for a good meal and a loving tribute to Miss Hudson.  P. S. I understand the waitresses will all always call you "Sugar."


1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup AP flour
2 3/4 cups milk (I used 1% milk which require cooking an additional 5-10 minutes slow cooking)
4 egg yolks
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 (11 oz) box Nilla Waferss
3 ripe bananas, cut into 1/4" thick slices (3 cups)
4 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 400F.  Whisk together sugar and flour in a medium-size heavy saucepan.  Gradually whisk in the milk until blended.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened (will take longer is using lower-fat milk).

Whisk egg yolks until thick and pale.  Gradually whisk about 1/4 of hot milk mixture into yolks, add yolk mixture to remaining hot  milk mixture, whisking constantly.  Pour into a clean saucepan.  Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes (or more) until thickened.  Remove from heat, stir in 2 Tbsp vanilla.  Toss together vanilla wafer and banana slices in an 11x7" baking dish.  Top with warm pudding.

Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer unti foamy.  Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (aboug 2-4 minutes).  Beat in 1/4 tsp vanilla with the last Tablespoon of sugar.  Spread meringue over warm pudding, sealing to edges of the dish.  Bake at 400F for 8 minutes or until golden brown (I had to turn on the broiler for the last minute or two.....but be careful, keep oven open and an eye on it or it will burn).  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Recipe Source:  "Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings," by Morgan Murphy, 2014, p. 109

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