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Southern-Style Banana Pudding With Vanilla Wafers Recipe

It's what your sweet tooth is craving, minus all the calories, but with all the creamy, dreamy, flavor
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Allen & Son, a historic but now-shuttered Southern restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, may have achieved its renown by hickory-smoking pork shoulders into tender, juicy submission, but this 'cue shack knew a thing or two about the sweet stuff, too. Its dessert menu read like an encyclopedia entry on Southern comfort food: pecan pie, key lime pie, coconut-chess pie, peach cobbler. They saved the best, though, for the last day of the workweek: a sweet, custardy banana pudding that is the measuring stick by which all others should be judged. This is our tribute to that Friday-only phenom. This banana pudding recipe doesn't hold back on taste, but it is lower in calories than the bread pudding you would order at your local diner, and you might actually still be able to taste the banana. That's because, with this delicious dessert, we hold back on the number of ingredients, and allow the natural and delicious flavors to speak for themselves.

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Nutrition: 290 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated), 36 g sugar

Serves 8

You'll Need

1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 large ripe bananas, sliced
1⁄2 box (12oz) vanilla wafers (about 35 wafers)

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the 1⁄2 cup of sugar, the flour, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  3. Cook over low heat, whisking occasionally, for about 12 minutes, until the mixture thickens into a pudding.
  4. Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick, stiff peaks have formed.
  5. Fold in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and mix for another few seconds to incorporate. (The meringue can also be whipped by hand with a whisk in a cold aluminum mixing bowl, but be prepared for a bit of a workout.)
  6. Layer the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish or oven-safe bowl with half of the bananas, then top with half the cookies. Repeat to form two layers of wafers and bananas, then pour the pudding over the top.
  7. Spread the meringue over the pudding. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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