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When I was younger, my grandmother would always make banana pudding when we came over for Sunday dinner. It was one of my favorite traditions as a child. My favorite part was always the wafers that would get soft and mushy from soaking up the banana and pudding. Let’s be honest, it’s still my favorite part.
Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve had banana pudding, but I’ve been craving it so it’s been making an appearance again in the past month or so. Not to dis my grandmother, but I have to say that this homemade banana pudding is way better.
What makes this banana pudding so good is the rich vanilla pudding made from scratch. It is luscious and creamy and surprisingly easy to make. The best part is you can make the pudding ahead of time so it is ready whenever you are ready to put it together. You can make the pudding up to three days in advance.
Most puddings are made with cornstarch, but I prefer the richness of pudding with egg yolk. It also helps give it that beautiful pale yellow color that I love in vanilla pudding. When making an egg yolk based pudding, it is important to temper your eggs. It does require a bit of skill to slowly drizzle the hot milk into the yolks while also whisking the yolks as swiftly as possible. The process is easier if your yolks are already lightly beaten.
Once you are finished making the pudding, it’s a matter of chilling, layering, a little more chilling, and eating. Honestly, the hardest part of making this banana pudding recipe is the waiting which is why it is perfect for making ahead of time.
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 4 egg yolks, beaten
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 box Nilla Wafers
- 3 ripe bananas, sliced
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Quickly whisk the ingredients together, then stir in the milk.
- Heat on medium. Whisk constantly, taking extra care to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Allow the mixture to come to a quick simmer.
- Take about one cup of the hot milk mixture and slowly drizzle it into a small bowl with the egg yolks while swiftly whisking the egg yolks as you pour.
- Once the yolk mixture is completely combined, pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
- Stir constantly, scraping the sides and bottom as the mixture cooks and thickens. Continue to cook until it is thick to the point where when you stick a wooden spoon in the mixture then run your fingers down the back, a line remains.
- Turn off the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir well to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap is directly touching the pudding. This is to prevent skin from forming on the pudding.
- Store the pudding in the refrigerator to chill completely. At least four hours, preferably overnight. If you would like to quick chill the pudding, place the saucepan with the thickened pudding in an ice bath that is heavy on the ice, then add the butter and vanilla. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes, then place in a gallon freezer bag. Ensure there is no air inside the freezer bag and store in the freezer for about one hour.
- Line the bottom of a trifle bowl with Nilla wafers, then a layer of banana. Add a layer of cooled pudding. Repeat this pattern until you run out of pudding.
- Take the heavy cream and powdered sugar and put in a bowl. Whip until the the mixture forms soft peaks.
- Top the layered pudding with the whipped cream and optionally top with more bananas and wafers.