Banana-meringue pudding

Newsday food critics picked the banana pudding at

Newsday food critics picked the banana pudding at LL Dent in Carle Place as one of the top desserts at restaurants on Long Island. (Oct. 9, 2009) (Credit: Yana Paskova)

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This tried-and-true recipe is adapted from the one on the Nilla Wafers box.

1/3 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar, divided

Dash salt

3 eggs separated

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

30 Nilla Wafers, divided

5 medium-ripe bananas, sliced (about 3 1/2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler over boiling water. Whisk in 3 egg yolks and milk. Cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until custard has thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.

2. In the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart baking dish, spread a small amount of custard. Cover evenly with 10 wafers, then with 1/3 of the sliced bananas, then with 1/3 of remaining custard. Make 2 more layers: 10 wafers, 1/3 of the bananas, 1/3 of the custard.

3. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon egg whites over custard, spreading evenly so that no custard is visible. Use a spatula to draw whites into attractive peaks. Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.

Makes 12 servings.

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