Banana Pudding

banana pudding

If you type in ‘Banana Pudding’ to google you will inevitably end up with what seems like two choices on how to make this very American dish. Have you enjoyed Banana pudding friends? I’d love to know your experiences of this very tasty dish in the comments below!

Bake and no bake – but for those of us lucky enough to have eaten banana pudding you know the choice is not that easy. Baked means it’s topped with meringue and unbaked can mean the custard is made from a pudding mix (no judgement, but that’s not like the one I tasted).

old fashioned banana pudding(pp w768 h1152)
easy banana pudding(pp w768 h1152)

Some are topped with soft peaks of whipped cream and others are topped with a crown of Nilla wafers…almost like the best banana pudding you could ever try has to be in the South because those wafers aren’t commonly found outside America.

The South is known for lots of goooooood food, and one evening I got to attend a Chili cookout in North Carolina (if you know you know) and being the only true visitor there I had to try each of the chilis, the cornbreads and desserts that was like being invited to the best Southern food initiation you could imagine.

Then there was Banana Pudding…and in the years since I have made this in my own kitchen thousands of miles from where I first tried it and in true cookout style, the one I had was made by making your custard for the banana pudding in the same care each cook made their chili or cornbread for this gathering.

There is almost no quintessential way to make Banana Pudding, but one thing the recipe below does do is make this pudding most similar to how it would have first been created because there is something about homemaking custard that is special and honestly, it still doesn’t take long to make this incredible dish that should be as famous as it’s apple pie cousin!

History of Banana Pudding

Food and Wine describes “Banana Pudding as American as Apple Pie” and yet, this very Southern dish.

It seems this dish is a hot take on the old English trifle with the first written mention in 1878 in The New York Times , but the first recipe was not published until 1888 which, resembles what we know today as Banana Pudding, except sponge cake was at this time used.

The introduction of cookies in place of sponge came in 1921 when Mrs Laura Kerley shared her version of this dessert with her local paper in Illinois and so an opportunity was snapped up by the National Biscuit Company and Nilla Wafers were created and marketed as the go to for those layers between bananas and custard.

We’re not sure how the original recipe that came from the northern part of America came to be known as a real Southern dish…but it may have something to do with the fact this dessert feeds a crowd and no one (trust me, I’ve been a bunch of gatherings around the US) does a get together over food like those in the South.

How to prepare Banana Pudding

  • Mix: Combine the flour, sugar and salt into a heatproof bowl.Whisk: Whisk a small portion of the milk into the flour mix until no lumps remain.
  • Repeat: Continue with the remaining milk until the mixture is smooth and all the milk has been added.
  • Double boiler: Place the bowl over simmering water and whisk until thickened.
  • Yolky: Whisk the egg yolks in a separate heatproof bowl.
  • Ladle: Ladle a small amount (just the first two ladles 😉 ) of the hot milk into the egg yolks and whisk together.
  • Repeat: Continue whisking the remaining hot milk into the egg yolks.
  • Double boiler: Place the warm egg yolk mixture over simmering water and whisk until thick enough to leave a trail with your whisk.
  • Flavor bomb: Remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract.
  • Sliced nanas: Slice your bananas.
  • Layer: Lay the biscuits down in one even layer into your dish or individual serving glasses and do the same with one even layer of bananas.
  • Custard layer: Spoon the custard over the top of the bananas ensuring your cover fully.
  • Repeat: Continue with more biscuits, bananas and custard.
  • Chill out: Refrigerate your pudding for 1 hour and then cover and chill up to overnight.
  • Buttered crumbs: Heat a small saucepan and toss in the crushed biscuits and butter, stirring until golden.
  • Whip it: Whip the cream until soft peaks just form.
  • Spread: Spoon the cream on your pudding and spread out.
  • Crumbs: Sprinkle the crumbs over the cream.
  • Serve: Spoon into serving bowls or dig a spoon into individual servings and enjoy!

Tips for the best Banana Pudding

Nilla Wafers outside America: Nilla Wafers are thin wafer type round cookies that don’t exist much outside America so the best substitute is sponge fingers, however, they’re thicker and a different shape overall so it’s best to halve before you begin making your pudding.

Warm custard: The best option with your biscuits or sponge fingers is to top each with warm custard to soften and create a texture similar to what would be found if you had Nilla Wafers.

Biscuit crumbs topping: The buttery and crisp biscuit crumb topping is not necessary for banana pudding, but the flavor this adds (in addition to the smell that will waft through your kitchen when you make this) will only make your banana pudding better.

Best served: The banana pudding is best served within 1 day of making or better yet, served within 2 hours of topping with the whipped cream. This is best kept refrigerated when not serving.

More banana recipes you’ll enjoy

Thai Banana Fritters

Banoffee Pie

Bananas Foster

Banana Pudding
Adapted from the Spruce Eats
Serves 8

Ingredients:
Banana Pudding
150 grams / 3/4 cup superfine/caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
80 grams / 1/2 cup plain flour
750 milliliters / 3 cups milk
3 egg yolks
42 grams / 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large or 4 medium bananas
200 grams / 7 ounces malted milk biscuits / nilla wafers / sponge fingers
Topping
1/4 cup malted milk biscuits / nilla wafers / sponge fingers, finely crushed
14 grams / 1 tablespoon butter
375 milliliters / 1 1/2 cups double cream
1 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar

Directions:
Place the sugar, salt and flour into a heatproof bowl and stir together.

Whisk in the milk a little at a time until smooth.

IMG 5140(pp w768 h432)

Place the bowl over simmering water in a saucepan, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Whisk until the mixture being is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat.

Place the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and whisk lightly.

Add in a small ladleful of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

IMG 5139(pp w768 h432)

Add another ladleful and continue.

Repeat with the remaining milk mixture until the egg yolks and milk are fully combined.

Return the custard to the double boiler on medium heat and whisk as it thickens and leaves a trail when you are whisking.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Set aside.

IMG 5142(pp w768 h432)

Meanwhile, get your biscuits out and slice up your bananas into even 1/4 inch slices.

Lay your biscuits down in a flat glass baking dish or in serving glasses (whichever is your preference).

Lay the sliced banana down on top in an even layer.

Spoon over enough custard to cover the tops of the bananas, but leave a little of the biscuit base visible.

Repeat another layer of the biscuits, bananas and custard, leaving 1/2 inch from the top of your dish.

IMG 7811(pp w768 h512)

Ensure you keep approximately 2-3 of your biscuits aside, but use all the custard and sliced banana (any extras can be layered in glasses if you are making your pudding in a dish).

Refrigerate to chill and then cover to chill fully for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

To make the topping, place the finely crushed biscuits and butter in a saucepan on medium heat and stir together until golden and bubbly.

IMG 5138(pp w768 h432)

Remove and place into a small bowl to cool. Set aside.

Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks just form.

Spoon the cream over your pudding and smooth out.

Sprinkle over the biscuit crumbs, spoon into serving dishes and enjoy!

homemade custard banana pudding(pp w768 h1152)
homemade banana pudding(pp w768 h512)
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banana pudding

Banana Pudding

  • Author: Sylvie Taylor
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Category: Crumbles & Puddings
  • Cuisine: American, Southern

Description

Southern banana pudding with it’s layers of wafers or biscuits, sliced banans and custard and topped with whipped cream is the perfect dish for gatherings.


Ingredients

Banana Pudding
150 grams / 3/4 cup superfine/caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
80 grams / 1/2 cup plain flour
750 milliliters / 3 cups milk
3 egg yolks
42 grams / 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large or 4 medium bananas
200 grams / 7 ounces malted milk biscuits / nilla wafers / sponge fingers
Topping
1/4 cup malted milk biscuits / nilla wafers / sponge fingers, finely crushed
14 grams / 1 tablespoon butter
375 milliliters / 1 1/2 cups double cream
1 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar


Instructions

  • Place the sugar, salt and flour into a heatproof bowl and stir together.
  • Whisk in the milk a little at a time until smooth.
  • Place the bowl over simmering water in a saucepan, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  • Whisk until the mixture being is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Place the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and whisk lightly.
  • Add in a small ladleful of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
  • Add another ladleful of hot milk into the egg yolks and combine.
  • Repeat with the remaining milk mixture until the egg yolks and milk are fully combined.
  • Return the custard to the double boiler on medium heat and whisk as it thickens and leaves a trail when you are whisking.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, get your biscuits out and slice up your bananas into even 1/4 inch slices.
  • Lay your biscuits down in a flat glass baking dish or in serving glasses (whichever is your preference).
  • Lay the sliced banana down on top in an even layer.
  • Spoon over enough custard to cover the tops of the bananas, but leave a little of the biscuit base visible.
  • Repeat another layer of the biscuits, bananas and custard, leaving 1/2 inch from the top of your dish.
  • Ensure you keep approximately 2-3 of your biscuits aside, but use all the custard and sliced banana (any extras can be layered in glasses if you are making your pudding in a dish).
  • Refrigerate to chill and then cover to chill fully for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • To make the topping, place the finely crushed biscuits and butter in a saucepan on medium heat and stir together until golden and bubbly.
  • Remove and place into a small bowl to cool. Set aside.
  • Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks just form.
  • Spoon the cream over your pudding and smooth out.
  • Sprinkle over the biscuit crumbs, spoon into serving dishes and enjoy!

Notes

Nilla Wafers outside America: Nilla Wafers are thin wafer type round cookies that don’t exist much outside America so the best substitute is sponge fingers, however, they’re thicker and a different shape overall so it’s best to halve before you begin making your pudding.

Warm custard: The best option with your biscuits or sponge fingers is to top each with warm custard to soften and create a texture similar to what would be found if you had Nilla Wafers.

Biscuit crumbs topping: The buttery and crisp biscuit crumb topping is not necessary for banana pudding, but the flavor this adds (in addition to the smell that will waft through your kitchen when you make this) will only make your banana pudding better.

Best served: The banana pudding is best served within 1 day of making or better yet, served within 2 hours of topping with the whipped cream. This is best kept refrigerated when not serving.

Adapted from the Spruce Eats


Nutrition

  • Calories: 573 per serving

 

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