Southern Banana Pudding

Back in the day, all of our kids were on the rowing team at their high school. The Friday prior to the regattas, the parents would prepare amazing food for the rowers. Lots of protein, pasta, a tray or two of chick fil a nuggets and my specialty, banana pudding. We often hosted the kids at our home. Fifty hungry rowers on a Friday night was nothing short of fun.

This custard recipe is similar to a creme anglaise base with fresh vanilla beans stirred into the milk rather than heavy cream . Sounds pretty fancy pants for teenagers, but hey- only the best for our kids, right?

You can use the standard vanilla wafers but I like to also use Lorna Dunes or Chessman for a bit more of a grown up twist. I also love Spanish Maria cookies- they are light in sugar and make a delicate base for the custard without being overly sweet. There are some things that just scream, “comfort food.” Banana pudding is one of those.

This recipe is based on Art Smith’s banana pudding recipe. Chef Smith has an incredible restaurant at Disney Springs in Orlando. If you are in the area visiting, be sure to stop by Homecomin’ and sample his fried chicken, craft cocktails and southern goodies. All the ingredients are locally sourced including local spirits such as Winter Park Distilling Company Genius Drive Vodka

Southern banana pudding
Serves 8-10

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 vanilla beans, split with seeds scraped out
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 12 ounces shortbread cookie- such as Lorna Dune, ‘Nilla wafer etc.
  • 4-5 bananas cut into rounds
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon super fine sugar

Method:

  • Bring milk and scraped vanilla seeds and empty vanilla pods to a simmer in a heavy medium size sauce pan. After 2 minutes, Using tongs, remove the pods from the warm milk.
  • Thoroughly combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add in yolks and whisk well.
  • Add a ladle of the hot milk to the sugar/egg mixture to temper. Add a few more ladles of hot milk until yolks are warmed. Scrap out the entire remaining yolk mixture into the hot milk and whisk constantly until pudding comes to a boil and thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in butter.
  • Transfer to a bowl, cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • In a decorative glass bowl or trifle dish, ladle one cup of the pudding on the bottom of the dish. Add one layer of cookies then pudding then bananas etc. repeating each layer and ending with pudding. I slide sliced bananas around the inside the bowl so you can see them as well. You can also use small mason jars for layering. Looks adorable.
  • Cover and chill at least 4 hours, but I prefer overnight .
  • Whip cream and superfine sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove plastic from chilled pudding. Spread whipped sweetened cream over pudding mixture.
  • Crumble additional cookies on top of pudding.
  • Serve cold. People will love you.

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