This is a basic, flexible pudding recipe that can be used for various desserts. You can incorporate chocolate pieces for a luscious chocolate pie filling, or add coconut for coconut cream pie. Another good use for this pudding is to use it as a pastry cream for a Boston Cream Pie. Or perhaps with vanilla wafers and fresh, sliced bananas.

I often use my fruit basket as an indicator of what I need to cook, and this week it was full of bananas that needed to be put to good use. I thought banana bread sounded wonderful, but banana pudding even better.

I like to use local ingredients when they are available and the Slaton Bakery Vanilla Wafers were calling my name. They are crisp and flavorful, and available, not only at the bakery, but in many grocery stores around the area.

This recipe makes me think of family. I recall family reunions, picnics at the lake, and my mom, when she would let me add the butter and vanilla when I was a little girl.

It’s great to have recipes, or the aroma of certain foods cooking, that bring us back to a time spent with someone special. For me, it is as much about the experience in the kitchen, and around the table, as it is the actual food and nutrition.

Enjoy food made fresh!

 

BANANA PUDDING PIE

Pie crust

2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers, (about 60 cookies)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

 

FILLING

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 cups whole milk

4 egg yolks

¼ cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

30 vanilla wafers

3 to 4 bananas, peeled and sliced in ¼-inch slices

 

TOPPING

Meringue or whipped cream

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine crushed cookies, melted butter and sugar. Press the cookie mixture into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, or a 9-inch Spring Form pan. Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven.

For the filling, combine sugar and 2¾ cups milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat to scald the milk.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together remaining milk, egg yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Temper egg yolk mixture by adding a small amount of the warm milk and whisking to bring the temperature up. Gradually add this mixture to the saucepan, whisking until combined. Bring mixture to a boil again and cook for about 3 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Spoon half of the pudding filling onto the prepared crust. Place half of the sliced bananas in a single layer over the pudding, then half of the whole cookies. Repeat layers. Place in the refrigerator to cool until time to serve. Top with meringue, such as a Swiss meringue, or with whipped topping.

NOTE: If using meringue, the Banana Pudding Pie can be placed under the broiler for a minute or two if you wish to brown the top. Makes 8 servings.

 

ANGELINA LARUE is a food writer, recipe developer and author of “The Whole Enchilada Fresh and Nutritious Southwestern Cuisine.”