How to Make Southern Banana Pudding Two Ways.

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I had never had Southern Banana Pudding until I was a junior in college – in Utah, I know, I know. It’s shameful, but true. One of my roommates made it, and it was perspective shifting. Hot pudding with bananas in it can be good!?!?!

It does sound weird, but tastes oh so good,

In my post about my trip to Savannah, I mentioned that we had a cold banana pudding at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. That version was cold, creamy, and perfect for our steamy day in the low country. So, naturally, this led me to this question: which is better in a head-to-head taste test, baked or chilled banana pudding? Obviously, I had testing to do

This vanilla pudding uses egg yolks, so it is cooked slowly in a bowl set above a pot of boiling water. The steam heats the bowl and cooks the pudding.

I did quite a bit of trial and error in this pudding recipe. I made three batches that just wouldn’t thicken! It was muy frustrating. Finally, I took a look at my equipment. I was using a glass bowl set over a pot with boiling water to cook my pudding. I thought the glass would insulate the pudding so that it wouldn’t curdle.

Well, it insulated too effectively, and the pudding never got hot enough to thicken. I switched to a metal bowl, and poof! It thickened right up. Use a metal bowl, and save yourselves a couple hours of frustration.

Also, when the custard is done, you will be able to dip a spoon into it, turn it over, run your finger along the back of the spoon, and it will leave a trail, like this:

The hardest part of this recipe is the pudding. Once that is done, it’s just assembling and topping.

For the Chilled Banana Pudding:

  1. Make ye olde pudding.

  2. in a 7’’x11’’ pan (I used Pyrex so you can see the vanilla wafer cookies poking out), layer the cookies, then custard, bananas, cookies, custard, etc. until you can’t fit anymore. I did 3 layers.

  3. Slap that baby in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. I made my plastic wrap touch the top of the pudding so it didn’t form a skin. It did take off some of the tops of the cookies when I pulled the wrap off, but it gets covered with whipped cream, so who cares?
  4. Chill overnight, or for as long as you can stand it.
  5. When ready to serve, take off the plastic wrap, whip up the whipped cream and swoosh it on top.

For the Baked Banana Pudding:

  1. Assembly is the same as the chilled pudding, except there is a meringue topping instead of whipped cream
  2. To make the meringue, whip 6 egg whites and sugar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. This means that when you take the beater out of the mixer, you get something like this:

3. Glorp the meringue on top of the pudding, and make swooshes with the back of a spoon.

4. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly and dig in!

The Taste Test Results

So, which version is better, you ask? Well, of our very scientific test group of 4 people, 3 preferred the baked banana pudding, but just barely. As it bakes, it takes on some caramel-y notes that really make it special. That being said, the chilled was delicious, and a little easier to put together.

If I was going to serve this banana pudding at a summer barbeque, I would bring the chilled version. On the other hand, if I was going to make this for a special dessert after, say, a holiday dinner, I would bake it. Choose your own adventure!

I hope you enjoy this special banana pudding, no matter which way you make it. Share this post with your treat-loving friends and spread The At-Home Test Cook love!

Smooches!

Chilled Southern Banana Pudding

Creamy and sweet, this cold banana pudding hits the spot on hot summer days.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 50 mins

Equipment

  • 7"x11" Pyrex Baking Dish
  • Medium Saucepot
  • Medium Metal Mixing Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract A vanilla bean would be awesome, if you have one.
  • 4-5 bananas sliced
  • 72 vanilla wafer cookies approximately
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream for whipped cream topping

Instructions

For the Pudding

  • In a large metal bowl set above a pot with a few inches of boiling water in it (don't let the bowl touch the water), combine the milk, 2 cups of cream, sugar, and egg yolks. 
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Put the cornstarch in a small bowl.
  • Scoop out a few tablespoons of the milk mixture, and whisk it into the cornstarch.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry to the rest of the milk mixture, and whisk together.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Take bowl off the heat, and stir in vanilla extract.

Assembly

  • Add a layer of vanilla wafer cookies to the bottom of your 7"x11" glass baking dish, one cookie thick.
  • Add enough pudding to just spread over the cookies.
  • Place a layer of bananas on top of the pudding, then another layer of cookies, then custard, then bananas. Cookies, pudding, bananas, cookies, pudding, bananas. 
  • Repeat until you have 3 layers, ending with cookies.
  • Pour your remaining pudding over your last layer of cookies.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Whipped Cream

  • Make the whipped cream just before serving.
  • With an electric mixer, whip the cream on high speed with a little sugar, if desired, until stiff peaks form.
  • Dollop the whipped cream on top of the pudding.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Author: athometestcook
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cold, Dessert, Pudding, Southern Food

Baked Southern Banana Pudding

This warm treat is good any time of the year, but especially for a celebration or holiday.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 40 mins

Equipment

  • 7"x11" Pyrex Baking Dish
  • Medium Saucepot
  • Medium Metal Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or a vanilla bean
  • 72 vanilla wafer cookies approximately
  • 6 egg whites for the meringue
  • 1/4 cup sugar for the meringue

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the Pudding

  • In a large metal bowl set above a pot with a few inches of boiling water in it (don't let the bowl touch the water), combine the milk, 2 cups of cream, sugar, and egg yolks. 
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Put the cornstarch in a small bowl.
  • Scoop out a few tablespoons of the milk mixture, and mix it into the cornstarch.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry to the rest of the milk mixture.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Take bowl off the heat, and stir in vanilla extract.

For the Meringue

  • Whip egg whites with an electric mixer on medium high to high until stiff peaks form, adding the sugar after about 20 seconds of whipping.

Assembly

  • Add a layer of vanilla wafer cookies to the bottom of your 7"x11" glass baking dish, one cookie thick.
  • Add enough pudding to just spread over the cookies.
  • Place a layer of bananas on top of the custard, then another layer of cookies, then pudding, then bananas. Cookies, pudding, bananas, cookies, pudding, bananas.
  • Add as many layers of cookies, pudding, and bananas as your pan will allow, ending with cookies.
  • Pour your remaining pudding over your last layer of cookies.
  • Carefully spread the meringue over the top of the pudding, making little swooshes with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned.
  • Let cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Serve, and enjoy!
Author: athometestcook
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Baked, Banana, Dessert, Hot, Pudding, Southern, Warm

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