meringue-topped butterscotch pudding. The dish is wrapped in blue cloth with blue stars and nestled into a basket for a 4th of July meal. Two small American flags are also tucked into the basket

“Because nothing says ‘Southern’ like Banana Pudding, and not to brag, but this rich butterscotch pudding makes this the best one ever, period,” writes Frances Schultz in her book California Cooking and Southern Style.

An author, artist, and Southern transplant now living in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, she partnered with chef Stephanie Valentine to develop reliable, accessible recipes for the book.

“To streamline, skip the meringue and top with whipped cream, which is sublime as is,” adds Frances. “Note: Cream that is pasteurized as opposed to ultrapasteurized tastes and whips better.”

Butterscotch Banana Pudding

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3–4 bananas, in 1/4-inch slices
  • About 3 cups vanilla wafers
  • Meringue topping (recipe below) or whipped cream

Instructions

1 | In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cream, milk, and vanilla bean scrapings and pod.

2 | In another medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, salt, and the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue cooking until you have a dark caramel with glassy bubbles forming, about 10 minutes.

3 | Meanwhile whisk together the egg, yolks, and cornstarch and set aside.

4 | To the boiling caramel, gradually stir in the cream mixture and return to a boil.

5 | Temper the yolk mixture (and avoid cooking the eggs) by stirring in about a half-cup of the hot caramel-cream mixture, and then add the yolk mixture back into the hot caramel-cream mixture. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 to 3 minutes, then cook for about 30 seconds more and remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla.

6 | In a 12-inch round serving bowl, make 4 layers beginning on the bottom with pudding, then cookies, then bananas, then pudding. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin forming. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Note: Chill the hot pudding mixture quickly by pouring it into a metal or glass container partly submerged in an ice-water bath.

Meringue Topping

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites (1/2 cup) at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Instructions

1 | Whip the egg whites and salt on medium high speed until frothy. While beating, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until thick and glossy.

2 | Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the cooled pudding and either place under a preheated broiler to brown or use a kitchen blow torch to toast the meringue just before serving.


California Cooking and Southern Style: 100 Great Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Frances Schultz (Skyhorse, 2019)Excerpt from California Cooking and Southern Style: 100 Great Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Frances Schultz (Skyhorse, 2019)

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