The Best Banana Pudding
For desert, my wife and naughty daughter made some delicious banana pudding. Our little one helped with everything except slicing the banana. She did a very good job. I am a fan of all puddings but this one and the butterscotch one they made earlier are my 2 all time favorites.
Southern Banana Pudding
1 12oz box vanilla wafers
2 boxes vanilla pudding (not instant)
4 c milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4 very ripe bananas
½ c plus 1/8 c raw, unbeaten egg whites (from about 6 eggs), room temperature
2 T sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¾ tsp fresh lemon juice
Line the bottom and the sides of an 8 X 8 by 2 inch baking dish (oven safe and non-reactive) with a layer of the vanilla wafers. They should just cover the bottom of the dish.
Prepare the vanilla pudding according to the pudding directions on the package (you will need the 4 cups of milk to do this. While the pudding is still hot, stir in the nutmeg and set aside to cool for 5 minutes (but no longer.)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Peel 2 of the bananas and slice them into 3/8 inch thick rounds. Top the payer of cookies in the bottom of the dish with the banana slices. Top the banana slices with a second layer of vanilla wafers. Peel the remaining 2 bananas and slice them. Evenly distribute them on top of the second cookie layer. For the final layer, top those bananas with another layer of cookies.
Pour the still warm pudding over all. Shake the dish carefully, and tap it on the counter, to remove any air holes within the layers.
Make the meringue. Combine the egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a mixer and whisk on medium speed until it just holds a peak. It should be light and fluffy, do not over-mix it.
Using a rubber spatula, top the entire surface of the pudding evenly with the meringue. Dip a spoon into the surface of the meringue and pull it out quickly to create little peaks all over the top of the pudding.
Place the pudding on the top rack of the oven. Bake just until it is nicely browned on top (about 3 minutes.) It can burn very easily so watch it carefully. Remove the pudding from the oven and let it cool down for 1 hour on the countertop. Them refrigerate and chill for at least 3 hours but not more than 5 hours.