From Mel's Kitchen Cafe
7 slightly underripe large bananas
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons cornstarch
6 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (12-ounce) box vanilla wafers
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and make sure an oven rack is in the upper-middle position. Place three unpeeled bananas on the baking sheet and bake until the skins are completely black, about 20 minutes. Let the bananas cool for 5 minutes.
While the bananas are roasting, whisk 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until smooth. In a large saucepan, bring the half-and-half, remaining sugar and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, whisk 1/2 of the hot half-and-half mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking quickly and constantly so the egg yolks don’t overcook and form little lumps. Slowly whisk the tempered egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and large bubbles are popping at the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
Transfer the pudding to a food processor (if your food processor is small, puree half the pudding with the roasted bananas and lemon juice and then transfer it all to a large bowl and whisk in the rest of the pudding). Add the warm, peeled roasted bananas and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and puree until the mixture is smooth. Scrape the pudding into a large bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate until the pudding is mostly cool, about 1 1/2 hours.
Cut the remaining bananas into 1/4-inch slices and toss in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Spoon 1/4 of the pudding into a 3-quart trifle dish and top with a layer of cookies, layer of sliced bananas, and another layer of cookies, making sure cookies go all the way to the edges of the dish. Repeat twice, ending with the pudding. Place another sheet of plastic wrap directly touching the surface and refrigerate until the wafers have softened, at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.
To garnish, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks in a medium bowl. Top the banana pudding with the whipped cream. Serve!