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Mix It Up With Jenny - Soul Food Satisfies!

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Banana Pudding

(Family Features) - No one celebrates family in more style than African-American families, many of whom gather during June - Soul Food Month - to celebrate Juneteenth with a picnic or barbecue. Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, is the date that slaves in Texas learned the Emancipation Proclamation had freed them.

Celebrating family is as good a reason for enjoying good food that I know, and African-Americans have honed family reunions to fine culinary art! Deeply satisfying soul food, a heritage of good Southern African-American cooks, is something we can all sink our teeth into.

It's the spirit of the celebration that counts: staying in touch with family doin's, fueled with good, honest food inspired by generations of excellent cooks. One Southern dish I've adopted - and my family loves! - is Banana Pudding. I've found that this homey comfort food is a favorite for families everywhere. Far-flung family members bond over dishes of this classic American dessert.

Set a date, gather your kin from far and near, and share the preparation and the fun!

  • Enlist the kids in making Banana Pudding - it's just plain fun to put together! The recipe included here makes eight generous servings, so plan accordingly; you might want to make more than one batch.

  • Identify a pit-master in the family to reign over the grill.

  • Consult the family for favorite recipes and assign everyone to bring a dish.

  • Collect family-favorite recipes; appoint a camera-bug family member to document the event; print a memories booklet with recipes and photos to send to all.

  • Provide big jugs of iced tea and lemonade for keeping family storytellers fueled!

For more picnic-perfect dessert ideas custom-made for summer celebrations, check out www.verybestbaking.com.

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the NestlĂ© Test Kitchens and Verybestbaking.com.

Banana Pudding

  • 60 to 70 vanilla wafers*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cans (12 fluid ounces each) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 ripe but firm large bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 container (8 ounces) frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
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    1. LINE bottom and sides of 2 1/2-quart glass bowl with about 40 wafers.
    2. COMBINE sugar, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in evaporated milk to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in eggs. Add butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low; bring to simmer and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract. Let cool slightly.
    3. POUR half of pudding over wafers in prepared glass bowl. Top with half of bananas. Layer remaining vanilla wafers over bananas. Combine remaining pudding and bananas; spoon over wafers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Top with whipped topping.
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Calories: 640g     Total Fat: 25g
Cholesterol: 100mg     Protein: 11g
Carbohydrates: 94g     Sodium: 430mg

Makes 8 servings
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Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*A 12-ounce box of vanilla wafers contains about 88 wafers.
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SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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