Banana pudding is a dessert with layers of sweet vanilla cookies and fresh bananas covered with cream or meringue. There are many variations of this dessert, but most use vanilla or banana custard with vanilla wafers.
Banana pudding originated in the southern United States. It is very similar to a dessert called an English Trifle made with custard, fruit, sponge cake, and whipped cream. Many chefs and home cooks created personal variations. One of the earliest known banana pudding recipes came from "The Kentucky Receipt Book" published in 1903.
Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and milk in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens, then reduce heat to its lowest setting for 2 minutes. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Remove the saucepan from the burner and slowly stir in the eggs and vanilla extract. Put the saucepan back on the burner and bring to a low boil. Let the mixture boil for 2 minutes while stirring gently, then turn off the heat. Layer 25 vanilla wafers in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Spread half the pudding over the wafers. Place half the banana slices over the pudding, then repeat the layers. Refrigerate overnight and serve topped with crushed wafers.
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