chocolate banana pudding
photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 12 servings.

2½ cups sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
2 cups whole milk
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 bananas, sliced
1 (16-ounce) package vanilla wafers
6 egg whites
½ cup sugar
1 (1½-ounce) chocolate bar (optional)

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the first six ingredients and mix well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats a spoon. Stir a small amount of pudding mixture into egg yolks. Stir egg yolks into hot pudding mixture. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let pudding cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400°. Alternate layers of pudding, bananas, and vanilla wafers in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add ½ cup sugar gradually, beating until stiff. Spread over the top of the pudding. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Shave chocolate bar over the top (optional).

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.