Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

If you’ve been reading this blog for long you know that I don’t do many desserts. This isn’t because I have anything against sweet things (in fact it’s quite the opposite). The fact of the matter is that desserts tend to take a lot longer to make, and when a sweet craving hits, I’m often content just heading to the nearest bakery to sate my sweet-tooth.

Banana pudding is one dessert that I’ll happily make at home. It uses ingredients I almost always have on hand, and takes less than half an hour to make. The hardest part is waiting until the creamy vanilla goodness has seeped into the cake, turning the whole thing into a sweet, luscious mess.

Vanilla Pudding

For the vanilla pudding, I started with my chocolate pudding recipe. While delicious and relatively simple to make, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could cut out a few steps to make it even simpler. Like most pudding recipes, I usually cream the yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a mixer, adding in hot milk, then cooking the mixture again. I decided to try and blend all the ingredients together, then cook the pudding in one step.

As it turns out, the mixing and two step cooking is unnecessary; my custard turned out beautifully! You’ll want to heat it gently over a low heat and stir it constantly though, to prevent lumps from forming.

Bananas for Banana Pudding

After my custard was done, I decided to lighten up the custard by incorporating whipped cream. The result was a smooth, mousse-like custard that melts as it hits your tongue. Together with the seeds from a whole vanilla bean, it makes for a heavenly pudding that would be delicious all on its own.

Of course banana pudding wouldn’t be banana pudding without bananas, so I sliced up a few bananas and sandwiched in a layer of Castella (Japanese pound cake). Sara Lee, ladyfingers, or vanilla wafers will all work just fine though, it all depends on what’s in your pantry/freezer.

Banana Pudding

makes 6 servings
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 extra large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons potato starch (halve if using cornstarch)

1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff

2 ripe bananas
frozen pound cake, cut into 1/4″ slices

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the back of your knife or a spoon to scrape the seeds out of the pod (save the pod to make vanilla sugar). Add the vanilla seeds, milk, eggs yolks, sugar, and corn starch to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Pass the mixture through a fine mesh tea strainer and into a saucepan. Heat the saucepan over medium-low heat and use a silicone spatula to continuously scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to keep the pudding from scorching.

Continue heating and stirring until the mixture thickens, but do not allow it to boil. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. You can speed this up, but submerging the bottom of the pot in a bowl of ice water while stirring. When the pudding has cooled, fold in the whipped cream.

Peel and slice the bananas into thin rounds and line the bottoms of 6 small glasses or ramekins with bananas. Spoon a layer of vanilla pudding on top, then add a layer of pound cake. If you still have room, add some more bananas, then top with a layer of pudding. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  • Raquel Erecipe

    how I love to make this one today I really love it…banana is one fruit that i really love. 

  • Tokyoterrace

    I will be making this. Very soon! My mom makes a killer banana pudding (she’s from Tennessee so the talent runs in her blood) and this looks like a beautiful version. Thanks for sharing!

  • leaf (the indolent cook)

    Now that looks luscious.  Even though you don’t post them as often, you always make such wonderful desserts!

  • Sommer J

    most certainly will try soon. i love almost anything banana.

  • cjbollinger

    Marc, would it be a problem if you don’t strain the vanilla/milk mixture before heating?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      You may end up with some small lumps if you don’t strain it first, but it certainly wouldn’t effect the taste.

  • vicky

    Ive made chocolate pudding before and vanilla pudding – but never banana pudding. I hope to try this recipe soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Oui, Chef

    I’ve always loved banana cream pie, but have never had a banana pudding.  This one goes on the list for sure.  It would be great served with a peanut butter cookie! – S

  • Flourtrader

    This is a classic treat that is often overlooked.  I like the idea of layering with the pound cake, makes for a wonderful dessert.  Glad you posted this!

  • Linda

    I love banana desserts and this is a wonderful combination. The vanilla bean is lovely as is the presentation!

  • Rachael

    I fell in love with banana pudding when we lived in Memphis.  I LOVE the idea of adding a layer of Castella, one of the things I fell in lovalk about a marriage between t my memories!

  • Cathy/ShowFoodChef

    Ohhh, you are cooking my world, now.  I grew up with ‘nanna pudding 😀  This looks and sounds like a little upgrade and I love it!

  • Christina Anne Lucas

    Oh I love those beautiful vanilla bean flecks in the pudding!

  • Kyle Weber

    this looks amazing!!! :)

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  • we are never full

     yum!  i would love to try to make this!  when we were down south a few years ago, this was the “gotta try” thing in some local parts.  i had not idea it as a local specialty there.  it was good but there is no way the one i had had real vanilla beans in there. this looks great.

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  • Nigel Yeo

    Hi Marc, beautiful pictures and recipes. I’m so keen on making this banana pudding to try it myself but I’ve just thought of something else; It’s gonna be my grandpa’s birthday in 2 weeks time, any chance that I could adapt this recipe into a cake?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Great idea Nigel! If I were going to turn this into a cake, I’d make a sponge or pound cake, slice it into a few layers, spread the pudding and banas in between, then cover in whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight, and decorate with some freshly sliced bananas and white chocolate shavings.

  • Morena

    This tastes really good. We made it today and followed almost precisely, lease forgive. The change was using 4tbspns of flour since we’d forgotten to buy the cornstarch and sweetened the whip cream just a pinch or two. HOWEVER, stick to the recipe and you’ll be pleased. Very precise. I’ll be trying more of your recipes. Thanks.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Morena, glad to hear you liked it!

  • Mello

    Gooooood LORD. Made this, but subbed whole milk for 2% and omitted the whipped cream. Still amazingly delicious. Also, was really pleased that the pudding (despite being so easy) came out looking almost as beautiful as yours! Thanks Marc :)

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  • Shannon

    any chance you think creaming the banana and adding it to the pudding mix would work? maybe leaving all or some of the cornstarch out? maybe whip it with the cream?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Shannon, they all sound like great ideas, but a few things to consider. Pureeing the banana into the pudding will likely darken the color. Leaving the cornstarch out will most likely leave you with a thin pudding as there are not enough eggs to thicken the pudding on their own. Mixing with the cream and then whipping won’t work, but you can whip the cream first and then fold it into the custard a little at a time for a lighter custard. —
      Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  • Casey

    Thank you so much Marc. My daughter and I made this today for some visiting relatives….it was a huge hit! The pudding was perfectly sweet, the consistency was nice. We used good old fashioned vanilla wafers, though. Awesome, will make again…definitely.

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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