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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

Banana pudding: a classic that can be spun many ways

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

Banana Pudding recipe included at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

One of Daddy’s favorite desserts is banana pudding. I am betting that this is true for many folks. This dessert is cheap and easy to make. There are many twists on this classic. I have seen banana pudding cheesecake, banana pudding pie, banana pudding cupcakes and even a trifle with Nutter Butters instead of vanilla wafers.

“But my favorite quality of this dessert is that it is the little black dress of desserts. You can dress it up or dress it down.”

I love many aspects of this dessert. It feeds a crowd for fewer than five bucks. It can be served warm or chilled. And it comes together in under an hour. Like gumbo, banana pudding is even better the next day.

But my favorite quality of this dessert is that it is the little black dress of desserts. You can dress it up or dress it down. For picnics, fill small mason jars in layers of vanilla wafers, bananas, custard or pudding, and top with whipping cream and wafer crumbs. Put the lid on the jars and stack them up in the ice chest. This is also a great go-to idea for pot lucks.

You can do the same layering to serve at a dress-up event. However, instead of mason jars use slender tall glasses to build individual servings. You can even top them with meringue and torch the top with a kitchen torch. Kitchen torches are useful for caramelizing the tops of crème brulee, marshmallows, and cooking individual portions of meringue.

I prefer making mine in my mother’s casserole dish from 1985. If there was a comfort food dessert category, a banana pudding would be right up there with warm chocolate chip cookies. To build my favorite version, I make classic custard with egg yolks. I make a meringue with the egg whites. Then I layer the goodness in a buttered casserole dish with sliced bananas and mini Nilla brand wafers. After baking the layered pudding until the peaks of my meringue begin to brown, I allow the dish to rest for an hour before serving. The mini wafers make serving easier and neater than using the full-size wafers. Top each serving with wafer crumbs and whole mini wafers for an anytime special treat.

Banana Pudding

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

8 egg yolks

4 cups milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 box mini Nilla Wafers

6-8 ripe bananas, sliced

½ cup sugar

8 egg whites

In a double boiler, over high heat, combine 1 cup sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, and milk. Wisk together. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk for 5 minutes.

Spread 1/3 custard on the bottom of a 9 X 11” pan. Top with a single layer of mini Nilla Wafers and sliced bananas. Repeat the layer once and top with the remaining 1/3 of custard.

Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually adding in the remaining ½ cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over the entire surface of the pudding. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until meringue sets. Garnish with banana slices and Nilla Wafers.

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