Banana Pudding with Swiss Meringue
By Andrew Zimmern
Banana pudding is one of my all time favorite desserts. It helps that this crowd pleaser is super easy to put together and can be made in advance. Top it with meringue for a dramatic presentation, or keep it simple with a dollop of whipped cream.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut in small dice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinche(s) of salt
- 1 box Nilla brand wafers… crucial
- 4 large bananas, sliced (use ripe, but not overly ripe bananas)
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Combine milk and cream in a medium pan and bring to a simmer, while stirring. While that’s getting hot, whisk together the eggs, sugar and cornstarch. Very slowly, to temper the egg mixture, drizzle the hot milk mixture into the egg mix whisking as you go.
Return the combined mixture to the saucepan and gently heat, stirring, until thickened and coating the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil!
Immediately whisk in the butter, a few pinches of salt and vanilla. Pour pudding through a sieve into a bowl, place plastic wrap onto surface of pudding and refrigerate for a few hours. Stir it up and put back in fridge for another hour.
Line a square pan (9”) or a fun trifle bowl or individual dishes with one layer of wafers. Add sliced bananas. Then a layer of pudding mixture.
Repeat. Sprinkle top with crushed wafers, sliced banana, and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Garnish with whipped cream or meringue, pulled with your fingers to create peaks and hand torched….if you want to get fancy. I have watched Zoe Bakes use this technique all the time and I adapted it for this banana pudding. If you don’t want pudding that’s sweet, use whipped cream, but if you have a sweet tooth, go for it. If you want to split the difference use meringue sparingly. This meringue recipe I have had for a while now courtesy of Sarah Kiefer, who got it from Susan Spungen… and its foolproof.
While the pudding is chilling, make the topping. In the metal bowl of a stand mixer, set over a pan of simmering water, combine all the ingredients, whisking until sugar is dissolved and it’s about 160-165 degrees. Immediately place the bowl into the stand mixer beating on a high speed until glossy/stiff. This will take 3-4 minutes.
Spoon onto the pudding and using your fingers in a pinching motion pull as many little curlicues of meringue as you like. Then use a kitchen torch to brown them.