"It’s a true New Orleans comfort food. At the time, Mom didn’t consider it fancy enough to serve to company. But boy has that changed."
For the Banana Pudding:
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers, divided
3 ripe bananas, sliced in 1⁄4-inch slices, divided
1 3⁄4 cups sugar, divided
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, divided
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 egg whites
For the Sweet Coffee Glaze:
1 cup strong coffee, regular or decaf
1 teaspoon vanilla
2⁄3 cup sugar
For the Banana Pudding: Preheat oven to 350°F. Evenly spread 1 cup of crushed wafers in the bottom of a 9-inch round baking dish, and layer half of the banana slices over the top.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1⁄2 cups sugar with the flour. Mix thoroughly and add 1 cup of milk. Beat the yolks and whisk into the mixture. Add remaining milk and butter. Place on low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and remove from heat.
Pour 1⁄3 of the pudding over the bananas while still hot. Sprinkle the remaining crushed wafers over the pudding and layer with remaining banana slices. Top with remaining pudding mixture.
In a large glass mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add remaining sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the pudding layers, completely covering the pudding. Bake for 15 minutes, or until meringue starts to turn golden brown. Remove, cool, and chill before serving. Once chilled, you can either serve from the baking dish or you can spoon into individual dishes for a fancier presentation. Drizzle with Sweet Coffee Glaze.
For the Sweet Coffee Glaze: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coffee, vanilla, and sugar; whisk until sugar completely dissolves. Continue to cook until mixture is gently bubbling. Reduce the heat and simmer until sauce thickens and reduces by half. Remove from the heat and cool.