If you don't know by now, I'm a native Southerner...and very proud of the heritage, even though by choice I have decided to no longer live in the deep South.
My Grandmother Hoover was a wonderful cook. And with as many people as we had in the Hoover clan, that was essential.
She made the most wonderful banana pudding. I couldn't remember exactly how she did it, but my "other mother" Mrs Jane Pearson--who is my "mom" in almost every sense of the word--gave me a fabulous recipe several years ago, and I've tweaked it a bit. Here it is:
You will need:
1 box of vanilla wafers (or you can use lemon cookies also)
several ripe bananas, sliced pinwheel-style
*In a medium Pyrex bowl (or casserole dish), layers these, beginning with the wafers/cookies. The top layer should be bananas.
3 cups of milk (use whole or 2%, not "fat free"--yuck!)
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 tablespoon flour (plain or self-rising is fine)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mix all of these items together in a large stewer or saucepan. Over high heat, stir these constantly until the mixture boils. Do not stop stirring this mixture, because it will scorch.
Once the mixture has come to a good boil, stir for one more minute, then pour it over the wafer/banana layers.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice (lime juice will work just fine). With an electric mixer, beat these until stiff white peaks are formed.
Once the white peaks are formed, spread over the casserole dish, sealing the edges.
Under direct heat, place the dish, and allow the meringue to brown for two minutes, watching it carefully, so as not to burn. When desired brownness has been reached, remove from oven, and allow it to stand at room temperature for ten minutes.