3 - cups of Milk
1/4 - cup of All Purpose Flour
1/2 - cup of Sugar
3 - Eggs, separated
1 - teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 - box of Vanilla Wafers
4-6 - ripe Bananas, sliced
1/8 - teaspoon of Cream of Tartar for the Meringue, if needed
1/4 - cup of Sugar for the Meringue, if needed
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
-Separate 3 eggs, set the whites aside for later use in the meringue.
-Add 3 cups of milk to a medium saucepan. Place over LOW heat on your stovetop.
-Slowly add flour, whisking continually to avoid lumps.
-Slowly stir in 1/2 cup of sugar, whisking continually until fully dissolved.
-Use a fork and break up the egg yolks.
-Slowly add the egg yolks to the saucepan, whisking continually to avoid making scrambled eggs. It's very important to stay with the cooking process at this point. Keep stirring.
-Increase the heat gradually up to about medium as you constantly whisk the pudding mixture.
-Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture up to 170 degrees.
-Continue to stir it constantly as it thickens. When it reaches 170 degrees, remove from heat but continue to stir.
-Add the teaspoon of Vanilla Extract and continue to stir off and on as it cools down. The mixture must cool down before you begin to assemble the banana pudding.
-When fairly cool, spread a light layer of the pudding in a casserole dish.
-Add a layer of Vanilla Wafers. Reserve about 5 or 6 wafers for topping later.
-Add a layer of sliced bananas.
-Add a layer of pudding mixture, spreading it out to the edges of the dish.
-Repeat the layer process as needed, ending with a layer of the pudding mixture on top.
-Crumble the 5 or 6 reserved wafers and sprinkle on top. If not adding the meringue, bake this at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool and serve. Hopefully you'll try the meringue.
-Place the room temperature egg whites in a glass or metal mixing bowl.
-Using a mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they appear frothy in texture.
-Add about 1/8th teaspoon of Cream of Tartar.
-Increase mixer speed and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks.
-Add the sugar. Continue to whip, increasing speed as needed until the egg whites thicken and form firm peaks. Do not over work the egg whites as it will cause them to lose volume.
-Use a spatula and gently spread the meringue over the pudding mixture.
-Gently dab the spatula up and down in the meringue to form small swirls and peaks.
-Place the dish in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch it carefully so the egg white meringue doesn't burn. It just needs to be slightly toasted and browned.
-Remove from oven, let cool, refrigerate until cold then serve, and Enjoy!