Earlier this month I had the pleasure of preparing 6 complete meals + a dessert for a new client. During our initial meeting we discussed they types of meals she and her family enjoyed. I was thrilled to learn they enjoyed meals of Pot roast with vegetables, Fresh Green Beans with Ham Chunks & a side of Buttermilk Cornbread, Chicken & Dumplings, Lasagna, Smothered Pork Chops and Sausage Gravy over Buttermilk Biscuits and for dessert, a big bowl of Banana Pudding.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s fun to prepare colorful, summer salads and play with recipes to make them conform to special diets… But… My country heart loves milk gravy bubbling in a cast iron skillet so you can imagine my delight when I received her first menu choices.
As soon as I read the list I called to my husband, “Honey! I’m going to love cooking for this family. They eat REAL food!!”
All kidding aside, I love my job. Being able to provide families with the kind of meals my family also enjoys just makes it that much better.
It’s like we’re all sitting at the table together.
Okay. I can’t tease y’all with a menu like that and not give out a recipe.
Here’s my Nanny’s from scratch Banana Pudding recipe. A staple at every get together.
Something you need to know – Don’t get hung up on exact measurements. Except when she was baking cakes, Nanny never really measured ingredients. She didn’t own a set of measuring cups or spoons. Amounts were based on how it looked, felt and tasted. If she needed a larger pudding she simply spooned out a little more cornstarch and poured in a little more milk.
She didn’t write down recipes for me. Instead I had the privilege of watching her cook. After she suffered a stroke and could no longer come to the kitchen, she (sort of) told me how she made a dish.
When I asked her how to make Banana Pudding, it went something like this;
Nanny: Get my puddin’ pan (Yes, I knew which one she was referring to) and put in about a scoop and a half of sugar.(The red plastic scoop in the sugar canister)
Put in a good spoonful of cornstarch. (Translation – use the spoon she used when cooking & heap it up)
Enough salt for 2-3 eggs (2 large or 3medium size eggs. We kept chickens so there wasn’t a constant size in the “icebox”)
Stir the lumps out and put in about a quart or so of milk. When it’s ready (thickened), put in a lump of butter and two caps of vanilla. (She used the lid to the vanilla extract bottle as a measuring device. 1 cap = about ½ teaspoon)
There were no official amounts or directions given. It was assumed I knew how to take it from there.
For the rest of the world, who has no idea how large the scoop was or what size her cooking spoon may have been, here’s a list of ingredients and directions.
Yields 6-8 servings
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 quart milk
- 2/3 lb graham crackers (2 sleeves)
- 3-4 very ripe bananas
- teaspoon vanilla extract
- tablespoons butter
- 2 quart Heavy bottom sauce pan
- Large Spoon
- Paring knife for slicing bananas
- Dry Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Small bowl (for cracking eggs)
- Large Bowl for pudding
- In a heavy bottom pan, stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt until no lumps remain.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions.
- Slowly stir in milk and place over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
- As the pudding heats and thickens, it is very important to make sure you are stirring continually, all the way to the edges and side of the pan so you don’t end up with lumpy pudding.
- I use a spring whisk like this one. It does a fine job of getting the flat bottom and 90o edge of skillets and pans.
- Continue cooking and stirring until it just starts to boil and has a thick pudding consistency.
- Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and butter.
Start with a layer of graham crackers then sliced bananas, ending with a layer of warm pudding spooned on top. Repeat until you’ve exhausted your supply of pudding.
Using Nanny’s Banana Pudding Bowl, (Yes, that’s it pictured above) I get 3-4 layers depending on how many and how large my bananas are that day.
Note: Some like to top Banana Pudding with meringue. If you choose to do so, layer your pudding in an oven-proof dish that can withstand the heat of baking the meringue.
Good to know – You can use this recipe to make a Banana Cream Pie. Simply reduce the amount of milk to 3 cups.
Place sliced bananas in a prepared graham cracker crust. Gently spoon on a thin layer of filling Add a layer of thinly sliced bananas. Top with remaining filling. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming and refrigerate until firm. Top with whipped cream and serve.
Now, excuse me while I have a bowl of warm Banana Pudding! Mmmmmmm
As a side note, today is the 39th anniversary of my dear, Great-Grandmother, Nanny’s passing from this earth to the arms of our Lord. I know she would be pleased that I’m still making her pudding in her bowl. I love you Nanny