I’ve eaten a lot of banana pudding (banan’ puddin’ as the Southerners in my extended family call it) in my life. It’s one of my family’s all-time favorite desserts, up there with peach cobbler.
So what’s the key to the best banana pudding?
The pudding needs to be homemade! When made from scratch, the pudding makes the final flavor and texture of the finished dessert luscious and creamy.
How to make the pudding:
Begin by making pastry cream. The pastry cream will seem too thick at first, but you’ll lighten it after it cools with some whipped cream.
After you make the pastry cream, let it cool for around 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator. It’s okay if it’s still slightly warm when you fold in the cream.
The resulting pudding is the perfect consistency and taste for banana pudding – not heavy and cloyingly sweet like instant pudding.
Now the fun part!
Layer the pudding, wafers, and banana slices in this order over and over again, ending with a layer of pudding. Garnish the top with a single layer of Nilla wafers.
Helpful hint: When layering the components, make sure to completely cover the banana slices with the pudding to prevent oxidation.
What should I put the pudding in?
If I’m having guests over, I always use a clear glass trifle dish.
If it’s for the family, I use my 2.3-quart (2250ml) Mepal bowl. The recipe perfectly fits in this container – love it when that happens! The container also has a secure lid which makes it great for not only storage but also travel.
Hope you enjoy this banana pudding recipe – it’s a family favorite.
Best Homemade Banana Pudding
- Make the pastry cream:
- Combine the cornstarch, eggs, and ¼ cup of sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk together well. Place milk and remaining sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly add the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture while whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pot.Bring to a boil over medium heat while whisking constantly. Once the mixture has fully thickened, continue cooking and whisking for an additional minute to cook out the starch. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour pastry cream into a medium bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding, and place in the refrigerator to cool, about 2 to 3 hours.
- In a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, mix the heavy cream and 3 tablespoons sugar to medium-stiff peaks on high speed. Fold one-third of the cream into the pastry cream using a whisk. Repeat step until all the cream is incorporated.
- Spread a thin layer of pudding on the bottom of (at least) a 2.3-quart container. Cover with a single layer of wafers, followed by a layer of sliced bananas. Completely cover the bananas with a layer of pudding. Cover with wafers and repeat this layering process. Finish with a final layer of pudding, and garnish the top with a layer of wafers - I usually have about 20 wafers leftover for snacking. 🙂 Cover and refrigerate overnight.