If you’ve ever listened to Dolly Parton’s heartwarming tune, “Coat of Many Colors,” you already understand just how much affection the songstress holds for her mama. While growing up without much money to speak of, the Parton family had to get creative when it came to things like that warm winter coat patched together out of scraps. That was the case when it came to cooking up meals in the kitchen, too. With 12 children to feed, Mama Parton had to learn how to stretch out a dish to make sure every belly got its fill.
It turns out, her mama was even able to scrape together a sweet treat for the whole family on special occasions. The country queen shared her mama’s famous recipe for banana pudding in her 2006 cookbook, Dolly’s Dixie Fixin's. Unfortunately, it’s no longer for sale, but Parton was kind enough to explain how to make the dish while chatting with the Hallmark Channel at Dollywood back in 2016. As delicious as the dessert sounds, it’s the story behind it that makes it even sweeter.
According to Parton, one of their neighbors owned a store near their Tennessee home and would always let her mama know when bananas were getting soft so she could buy them for a cheaper price. The whole family would get understandably excited when they heard they’d be getting to chow down on the pudding after supper on those special days. After going so long just trying to make due with the bare minimum, this pudding put a smile on every one of their faces.
How to Make Dolly Parton’s Banana Pudding
Like similar recipes, you start by making the vanilla pudding. Heat up 3/4 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup of flour on the stove. Stir in 2 cups of milk slowly, then add three lightly beaten egg yolks. Stir constantly for about 20 minutes, or until the pudding becomes thick. Once you’ve got it to the right consistency, remove it from the heat, then add half a stick of butter and one teaspoon of vanilla. After that’s all mixed in, you can set it aside to cool. Line the bottom of your serving dish with vanilla wafers and banana slices, then spoon some of the cooled pudding on top, and repeat the layering until you’ve reached the top.
If you like meringue on your pudding, you can beat the egg whites from your yolks together with 1/4 cup of sugar and a teaspoon on of vanilla until they form soft peaks. Smooth that out on top of the pudding and put the whole thing in the oven for a few minutes to brown the meringue a bit.
Parton bragged that her family’s version of the dessert always tasted the best — not just because it was such a rare treat, but because of the fresh ingredients they had on hand at their farm. Milk and eggs straight from the source! Whip up this recipe for your family tonight and they’ll be singing your praises for days.