Southern Banana Pudding

Southern Banana Pudding

real intense vanilla…freshly cut bananas…

My dad and I are embarking on a tremendous genealogy project inspired by our DNA tests from Family Tree DNA and our move from New York City to The South. While he puts together all of the documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, newspaper clippings, written letters, and photographs, I search for the significant cultural aspects such as music, art, and especially food.

All of the delicious cakes and puddings my mom and nana made when I was a kid were things I realized were deeply Southern and passed down during The Great Migration a hundred years ago. Working in the Southern food industry connected me to these foods, driving my curiosity while creating more questions about my unique heritage.

One food I distinctly grew up eating was banana pudding. My mom and nana made it quite a bit when I was a kid: a rich custard studded with lots of fresh bananas and Nabisco Nilla Wafers. At one of my old jobs, we sold it on a Ukrops display in massive 1000 calorie jars. I’m a glutton for curiosity as well as punishment, so I snagged a jar from work despite my inner self screaming NO. This was THE pudding, after all, as said by tons of our customers. But one small spoonful and the miserable flavor of fake banana seeped into my mouth.

Upon looking at the ingredients, I found that there wasn’t a single banana in it, and it was filled with dextrose, maltodextrin, and yellow lake food coloring. I knew this, but I didn’t think it would taste THAT bad. I left the container in my lunchbox cooler overnight (as I write this, I still haven’t thrown it away. I’ll do it in the morning…).

But I still had a craving for banana pudding. I knew what I had to do: I must recreate the real thing at home, no boxed pudding, no banana flavor; just real intense vanilla pudding with freshly cut bananas and homemade vanilla wafers.

I used the Vanilla Wafer recipe by Allie {Baking A Moment} instead of the Nabisco brand, but feel free to use whatever wafers that tickle your fancy. For me, the more homemade a dessert is, the better it tastes, and, honestly, the less havoc gets wreaked on my stomach.

Baking a Moment Vanilla Wafers

The pudding itself is inspired by a pastry cream recipe in one of my mom’s French culinary text books from the 90s. It is milk and heavy cream based with egg yolks, bourbon vanilla extract, and butter added at the end for a rich flavor and light texture.

This lovely pudding is layered twice with a topping of fresh whipped cream and wafer crumbs.

Southern Banana Pudding

Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Author Chris

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ Cups (800ml) Whole Milk
  • 1 Cup (200ml) Heavy Cream
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 Cup (200g) Granulated Sugar
  • 2 TBSP (30g) All-Purpose Flour (sifted)
  • ¼ Cup (60g) Unsalted Butter
  • 2 TBSP (30g) Vanilla Extract
  • 30 to 40 Vanilla Wafers I made mine from scratch using the recipe by Allie from Baking A Moment
  • 3 Bananas peeled and sliced into ½ inch slices.

For the Whipped Topping

  • 2 Cups (400ml) Heavy Cream
  • 2 TBSP (30g) Powdered Sugar (Optional)

Instructions

Make the Pudding

  1. In a large sauce pan, mix the milk and heavy cream and bring to a boil, letting it bubble for at least 30 seconds before taking the cream off the heat. Set it aside to cool for 1 minute.
  2. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk or beat together the egg yolks and sugar until a pale yellow egg mixture forms and the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  3. Temper the egg mixture by pouring a fourth of the hot milk into the eggs in a slow and steady stream, whisking vigorously as you go until you have a milky yellow liquid.
  4. Pour another fourth of the liquid into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously, until well combined. Pour the liquid back into the sauce pan with the remaining cream and place the pan back onto medium-low heat. Stir in the flour.
  5. With a rubber or wooden spatula, continuously stir the pudding for 15 to 20 minutes or until a thick liquid forms. It should be slightly thicker than pancake consistency. Take the pot off of the heat.
  6. Stir butter and vanilla extract into the pudding until fully incorporated. Place the pudding into a large clean mixing bowl and let it chill in a freezer for 2 hours or in the refrigerator for 6 hours.

Make the Whipped Cream

  1. In a large, clean mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to top the pudding.

Finish the Pudding

  1. In a large glass bowl or dish, layer the pudding in this order: a third of the whipped cream, a third of the wafers, half of the pudding, and half of the bananas. Repeat layers once more and top the pudding with vanilla wafers along the edge of the bowl, whipped cream in the middle, and vanilla wafer crumbs on top.

    Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • The pudding tastes better after chilling overnight. All of the cream and cookies marinade, taking on each others' flavors.

© 2018 Parker Artistry Brands LLC, All Rights Reserved.

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