The Perfect Southern Dessert
In the name of full disclosure I should probably tell you that I don't actually eat banana pudding. I've never really tasted this recipe, but I have picked out some of the nilla wafers. They were delicious. However, of everything I make, this is probably my most requested (other than a vanilla pudding cake which I'll share later). Especially in the summer. It also happens to be my least favorite dessert to make. It doesn't really involve baking as much as it does stirring custard constantly for 20+ minutes and handling yucky slices of slimy bananas.
I have, however, learned that people in the south love their banana pudding and are quite picky about it. So, through a bit of trial and error, I have combined a few recipes to find one that seems to satisfy most banana pudding lovers.
I started with this recipe from Southern Plate and then added to it just a bit. Although, in this recipe she makes her own topping and says she'll hunt down anyone who uses Cool Whip. I use Cool Whip. Hopefully she wasn't serious. But, since its already something I don't eat & don't particularly enjoy making I didn't feel like going through the extra effort to make my own meringue topping. Plus, no one who's eaten it so far really seems to mind :)
Anyway, onto the recipe.
-1/2C sugar (original recipe says you can use Splenda. I haven't tried that)
-1/3C flour (you may want to add some extra depending on how thick you like your custard. I usually add just a bit more)
-3 egg yolks
-2C milk (I use whole milk for this - helps make the custard thicker & creamier, I think)
-1 box vanilla wafers (I use the whoooole box. The cookies are the best part, right?)
-5-6 ripe-overripe bananas
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-dash of salt
-Slice all bananas
*I save one whole banana (leaving it in the peel) & wrap in foil and place in oven on warm.
Once the custard is done I mash this banana into it. I think this would make for a weird texture,
but James prefers it this way and others haven't complained. I'm a texture person so it doesn't
seem appealing to me, but it does help thicken the custard and add more banana flavor.
*If this is to be served next day you can squeeze some lemon juice on the bananas to keep them
from turning brown. The custard does thicken as it sets so, unless you like it warm, its better after
it has sat in the fridge for a bit. ( at least several hours)
-Layer nilla wafers and banana slices in a large bowl (ie a glass pyrex bowl)
-In a pot, add all ingredients except vanilla and cook on medium-low heat. DO NOT turn up heat, it will burn! Stir constantly for ~20 minutes or until custard thickens. It will suddenly thicken up in the last few minutes. Until then it will seem like nothing is happening.
-Once custard is thick remove from heat & stir in vanilla. This is also where you would mash in the extra banana if you choose.
-Immediately pour over wafers & banana slices in bowl. Let set in fridge & then top with your choice of topping. Cheers to you if you choose to make your own, but Cool Whip works just fine :)
-I like to put some wafers on top of the topping also, just because it looks nice. And then I can eat cookies dipped in cool whip.
**Update 7/13 - if you want thicker custard, add 1 extra egg yolk and a bit of extra flour (a little less than an extra 1/4 cup).