Dolly Parton’s Easy Dessert Recipe Is Perfect for Summer Cookouts

Dolly Parton is bigger than country music. At this point, she’s an American hero.

Although the “Jolene” singer may have started out in the country world, she’s long outgrown her music career. Parton is known for her humor, her acting career, and her philanthropy. She’s an amazingly generous woman, involved in important causes like childhood literacy. Parton even funded one of the COVID-19 vaccines. She’s also a cookbook author. In the book is one of her mom’s favorite recipes, a simple banana pudding. Parton demonstrated how to make the pudding on the Hallmark channel, while sharing some interesting tidbits about her childhood. 

Dolly Parton came from humble beginnings

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton | Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Banana pudding was a special treat for Parton growing up. She was born in Tennessee. Her family’s one room cabin is now infamous. Parton often shares how she and her 11 siblings had a great time growing up there, despite the lack of space. Parton even bought the cabin after she made it big, just so she could restore her childhood home.

Parton’s parents supposedly couldn’t even pay the doctor who birthed her in cash. They offered him food instead. It was either a sack of oatmeal or cornmeal, depending on the source. Parton’s family obviously didn’t have a lot of money for simple luxuries like sweets. But occasionally her mother was able to get her hands on some bananas, which meant banana pudding for all the Parton kids. It’s still her favorite today. Parton included the recipe in her cookbook.

Dolly Parton’s mom made banana pudding out of bananas that were too ripe to sell

According to an interview with the Hallmark Channel, Parton’s mom used overripe bananas for her banana pudding. When the bananas at the local country store were past their prime, the owner would call Parton’s mom. She would go down and collect the bananas for free, since they were bound for the trash anyway. Parton’s mother made an absolute treasure out of what would have been trash. 

The other ingredients of the pudding were no problem for Parton’s family. The milk, eggs, and butter were on hand. Even though the Parton’s didn’t have a lot of indoor space, they had enough land for chickens, cows, and pigs. Parton’s family made their own butter from their own cows. Parton thinks that the homemade butter made her mother’s banana pudding unbeatable. Even though Parton has made it many times, and even serves it at Dollywood, her mom’s is still the best. 

Dolly Parton’s favorite banana pudding is easy enough for anyone to make 

There are a few tricks to making a banana pudding the way Parton’s mom used to make it. First, this banana pudding actually gets baked in the oven. Like most pudding, the base involves milk, egg yolks, flour, sugar, and butter. The actual banana pudding part of the dish is made on the stove. 

After the banana pudding is made, Parton layers in vanilla wafers and sliced bananas. According to Parton, putting the sliced bananas between layers of wafers keeps them out of the light, which means they won’t brown as quickly. Once the layers are all there, Parton uses egg whites and sugar to whip up a meringue. She spreads that on top of the pudding, and then bakes the whole thing in the oven for about 15 minutes. The result is a pudding that’s smooth, with a crunchy meringue top and crunchy layers in the middle. 

It’s no wonder why this is Parton’s favorite dish. It’s simple, and easy enough for anyone to make. Plus, the whole family can get involved and help, especially when it comes to constructing the layers of the pudding. 

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