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Banana Pudding Recipe & Video

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Banana Pudding pairs a creamy smooth vanilla pudding with chunks of sweet banana and crunchy vanilla wafers. Some like to layer this dessert, like an English Trifle, so you can see the separate layers of pudding, banana slices, and vanilla wafers. Others like to just mix everything together in one big bowl. History seems to suggest that Banana Pudding originated in the Southern States where it is still very popular. So popular, in fact, that It is not uncommon to walk into a grocery store and find boxes of vanilla wafers and instant vanilla pudding mixes alongside the bananas. Southerners often like to top their Banana Pudding with a meringue, but I am partial to a dollop of softly whipped cream.

Now, we are going to make this Banana Pudding from scratch, which means homemade vanilla pudding. A vanilla pudding is really a 'cooked' custard. There is only one real difference between a pudding and a custard and that is cornstarch. Cornstarch is added to a cooked pudding so it becomes thick enough to eat with a spoon. The important thing is that they have to be cooked carefully as we do not want lumps or even worse, scorching. So keep the heat fairly low and use a heavy bottomed saucepan, making sure that you stir constantly with a large heatproof rubber spatula. When stirring it is important to reach the bottom, sides, and corners of the saucepan to prevent the pudding from sticking and scorching. Once the pudding has become thick, like mayonnaise, remove it from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract.

Once the vanilla pudding has cooled to room temperature, we can make our Banana Pudding. Slice the bananas and break the vanilla wafers into bite sized pieces. As I said above, you can layer the ingredients (like a trifle) or simply mix everything together in a large bowl. Add as much banana and vanilla wafers as you like. I like to make the Banana Pudding just before serving. That way the vanilla wafers stay nice and crisp. But if you like, you can cover and refrigerate the Banana Pudding, so the vanilla wafers soften and start to break down. I love to garnish the pudding with a dollop of whipped cream. Lastly, if you would like to try a different version of Banana Pudding, replace the Vanilla Pudding with Butterscotch Pudding.

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Banana Pudding: In a large stainless steel (or heatproof) bowl whisk together 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar, cornstarch, salt, eggs, and egg yolk. Whisk in 1/2 cup (120 ml/grams) of the milk. Set aside while you heat the rest of the milk and sugar. Have ready a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl as you will need to strain the pudding after it is cooked.

First, rinse a medium-sized heavy saucepan with cold water and then shake out the excess water. Doing this step prevents the milk from scorching. Then pour the remaining 3 cups (720 ml) of milk, along with the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) of granulated white sugar, into the saucepan and bring just to a boil. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pudding mixture to a clean large, heavy bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, whisking the mixture constantly, for another 3 to 5 minutes or until it becomes thick (consistency of mayonnaise). Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. If your pudding has any lumps, pour through the strainer. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or two (or even overnight).

Banana Pudding Trifles: Take 8 small bowls or glasses (depending on size) and place a few vanilla wafers in the bottom of each trifle glass. Spoon a little of the vanilla pudding over the cookies. Peel and slice the bananas and place a layer of bananas over the pudding in each bowl. Place another layer of pudding and bananas, then finish off with a layer of pudding. Garnish each pudding with dollops of softly whipped cream, whole vanilla wafers, slices of banana, and maybe some chocolate shavings or chopped pecans. Can serve immediately or cover and refrigerate (but the vanilla wafers will soften) until serving.

Makes 8 servings.

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Banana Pudding Recipe:

1/3 cup (65 grams) plus 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar, divided

1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

2 large eggs (100 grams out of shell), at room temperature

1 large egg yolk (17 grams), at room temperature

3 1/2 cups (840 ml/grams) whole milk, divided

2 teaspoons (8 grams) pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 tablespoon (13 grams) unsalted butter

6 large firm yet ripe bananas

Vanilla Wafers cut into bite sized pieces

Garnish: 

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Chopped Pecans

Chocolate Shavings

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