Isn’t it weird how sometimes you suddenly get a major craving for a food you haven’t had in years? It has been ages since I’ve had banana pudding, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had banana pudding made from scratch, but a few weeks ago I was picking up bananas at the grocery store and knew that banana pudding needed to be in my future. I spent a while debating adding a new element to this recipe–maybe peanut butter pudding in place of vanilla? or a chocolate fudge swirl? I’m glad I squelched the urge to change this recipe, the classic version is a classic for a reason. It’s hard to beat the creamy vanilla pudding, crunchy cookies, fresh banana, and soft whipped cream.
If you haven’t made vanilla pudding from scratch before, please give it a try! This is a simple recipe that is quick to prepare. After you make the pudding you can pour it through a fine mesh strainer to sift out any lumps, so even if you accidentally overcook it a bit you’ll still end up with a perfectly smooth pudding. For the best texture, make sure to use bananas that are ripe but not overripe.
Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Add the egg yolks and stir to combine. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. butter and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. butter and the vanilla extract. Stir until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Arrange the vanilla wafer cookies in a single layer at the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Place approximately one-third of the banana slices over the cookies. Spoon one-third of the pudding over the banana slices. Repeat the layers until the pudding is all gone. Alternatively, the layers could be created in individual sized bowls or glasses. Cover and chill for at least 3-4 hours.
Make the whipped cream prior to serving. Pour the heavy whipping cream and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using the whisk attachment, mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the vanilla. Smooth the whipped cream over the pudding, then garnish with additional crushed vanilla wafers if desired.
A former member of CROPP’s Sustainability Department, Annie has relocated to Indiana but remains a CROPPie at heart. Annie has a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and continues to work in the field of environmental sustainability. When she and her yellow lab Boomer aren't outside exploring local hiking trails, Annie can usually be found in the kitchen. While she cooks for subsistence, Annie’s real passion lies in creating indulgent baked goods for friends and family.