My dad’s birthday is November 24th. Growing up we always celebrated his birthday on Thanksgiving. Which always meant there would be my mom’s coconut cake and my dad’s favorite, banana pudding. This is not my mom’s banana pudding but I love the updated version on such a traditional classic. The little jars makes a perfect gift for dad on Father’s Day to tell him how much we appreciate him.
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
Vanilla wafer cookies (good quality) or a tea cake recipe included in the book
4 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bring 2 cups of water to boil in heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. In large stainless steel bowl, whisk together sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in egg yolks, followed by milk, vanilla bean, nutmeg and cinnamon. Place bowl over pan of water and cook, stirring until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon and vanilla bean. Rinse vanilla bean and reserve for another use. If using vanilla extract, stir it in now.
While pudding is still warm, layer cookies, bananas and pudding in 1/2 pint canning jars or ramekins. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Topping: Whisk egg whites in electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and slowly increase speed as egg whites become opaque. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla extract. Whip until whites form a soft peak. Spoon meringue over warm puddings, sealing it to sides of jars.
Bake puddings for 4 minutes or until meringue is puffed and brown. Cool on rack for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Yield: 8