Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Banana Vanilla Pudding

Hello again! July started with a sizzle in St. Louis. We alternate between sunny scorching days and storms with torrential downpours. After a particularly spectacular storm a couple of weeks ago, we woke up to find that a tree in our backyard had split in half- with the half that crashed leaning on our back porch! 

On the food front, we're sticking to simple meals and old favorites- yogurt rice with sprouts and subzis, veggie burgers on a bed of shredded raw vegetables, hummus wraps, idlis and dosas. On a whim, I tried making faloodas from a little "falooda kit" packet and were thrilled at the nostalgic taste of the slippery basil seeds and bright pink rose flavor. Last weekend, I picked up more falooda supplies and will soon write a post about this classic summer sundae. 

Here's another classic dessert- not one that I grew up eating but something I tasted one summer in NYC at the Magnolia Bakery and felt an instant connection to. Nilla banana pudding is a Southern US classic treat of comforting rich custard, vanilla biscuits (wafers) and sliced bananas. For more about the right way and the wrong way to make this dessert, check out this post

Of course, the minute I ate a spoonful of banana pudding, it brought back taste memories of Brown & Polson's instant vanilla custard- my mother made this often and loved serving it with mixed fruits, as a topping on homemade date and walnut cake, and spooned on top of jiggly cubes of jelly. 

You could easily make some instant custard of that type and layer it with vanilla wafers and bananas for a 5 minute version of this dessert. I used eggs and cornstarch to make the custard from scratch, which takes about 20 minutes. 

Banana Vanilla Pudding
(Adapted from this recipe; serves a crowd of 12 to15)

1. Make the custard:
  • Whisk 2 eggs in a saucepan. 
  • Whisk in 4 cups 2% milk.
  • In a small bowl, mix 5 tbsp. cornstarch with a little milk to make a paste.
  • Pour the cornstarch into the milk and mix well.
  • Stir in a scant 1 cup sugar (less would do) and 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • Cook this entire milk mixture on medium heat until it gets hot and bubbly, stirring every few minutes. 
  • When it boils for a minute and thickens well, it is done.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tbsp. butter and 2 tsp. vanilla extract. 
  • Let the custard cool for 20 minutes.
2. Assemble the pudding by layering Nilla wafers, 3 bananas (sliced quite thinly on the diagonal) and vanilla custard in a casserole dish. I made 3 layers. Cover and chill for 4 hours, then serve and eat up within the next several hours.

Please know that this recipe makes a LOT of pudding. You can easily halve the pudding recipe if you want to.

Have a lovely week, everyone!


  1. Definitely grew up eating this! It's the quickest homemade Southern treat ever! I am glad you liked it :)

  2. Ummm feel like eating this now :)

  3. Waking up to a split tree onto the house is kind of scary. Hope u were able to get rid of it safely.
    I tasted this dessert, gourmet style at one of our Christmas parties and had loved it. Never tried making at home because of the custard making thats involved. But I think I'll try to make it for my banana loving son soon. Yummy pics.

  4. I just love custard so I can't wait to try this. Thanks for posting.

  5. This looks delicious. I'm going to try it for my next girl's night.

  6. I lived in the South for four years and ate banana pudding often at office parties and local restaurants. It tatsed heavenly but when I asked for the recipe it often contained copius amounts of cream cheese and cool whip. So I never dared to make it at home. This is much more reduced guilt, and looks enticing. I'm trying it out in the next couple of weeks.

  7. Wow.. love the nilla on banana pudding.. simply decadent and delicious..

  8. Wow, that was quite a storm. We're having the rainiest summer ever here!

  9. My son loves the jelly, custard combination and I made it over the weekend with mangoes...this ones looks really rich !!

  10. Hope you managed to fix the tree situation! looks scary. Hope it didn't do much damage.

    The banana pudding looks yummy. Can you please tell me a substitute for the Nilla wafers in India. Thanks!

  11. These look so yummy! Have a great summer Nupur!

  12. this pudding is new to me! and it looks so good!

  13. This was one of the first things I made when I came to the US and for the longest time I kept looking for the vanilla wafers (the thin crispy layered ones you get in India) and couldnt find it. Later I saw Nila wafers in the grocery store and thats when i knew it it this one I have to use in the pudding :) memories :) Love this dish! Have a great summer! Its not so great for us here in Seattle this year :(

  14. I always associate custard with being unwell...my mom would make it as part of an invalid diet. Although the pudding looks delish, I'm too scarred to try this!

  15. Nice! I have never had a banana pudding before. This one seems easy to make. Will certainly try it.

  16. I love custard and banana combination! Nilla wafers is new to me! Awesome....

  17. We are still trying to figure out how to take down broken branches near the top of this huge evergreen after this winter's storms(the tree's been growing in our front yard at least 80 years, and it's the tallest tree on the street.)
    Custard with Nilla wafers? That's a new one for me, and it looks delicious.

  18. Deesha- Thanks!

    Sharan- I did like it- a total comfort food :)

    notyet100- Thanks!

    Pavani- Yes, the half of the tree that fell is now chopped up and the other half is still standing!
    Custard is really easy to make- give it a shot. It is certainly no big deal compared to the level of cooking you do!

    Corina- This is the perfect dessert for custard lovers.

    Gayatri- Let us know if you enjoy it!

    Priya- Yes, I've seen recipes with condensed milk and whipped cream and instant pudding- very over the top. This one is simple and works well.

    Krithi's Kitchen- Thanks!

    Kalyn- We've had so much rain here too, and to think that half the US is in severe drought :(

    Arch- Ooh mangoes can only make it better!

    Noodlehead- Yes, we were very lucky and the tree did no structural damage.
    I really don't know of a substitute for Nilla wafers in India- sorry!

    Preeti- Thanks- I hope you are enjoying summer too :)

    Sarah- Thank you!

    Manju- Ooh I used to love those crispy layered wafers in India- they went so well with a bowl of ice cream.
    Is the weather not great in Seattle this year??

    Rekha- Thanks!

    Niranjana- Oh that's too bad, yes, food associations are hard to break.

    Amruta- It is super easy and a nice homey dessert.

    Ashwini- I love the custard and fruits combo too :)

    Vaishali- Get a power saw?? :) I'm sorry you had to deal with fallen trees too!

  19. Custard is something even I always associate with my childhood... Weikfield in my case :D and my mom used to load it with seasonal fruits and even grated chocolate. So bananas with vanilla custard is definitely comfort food. but the wafers? nice touch!

  20. The pudding looks so delish! mmmm...Those were some storms you all had there, glad that you were safe! Hope Dale did not get too scared!

  21. what are Nila wafers? like the wafer biscuits we get over here or somethjing different?

    btw, I just placed an order with K and a,m so excited about when it will come.


  22. Looks awesome. Adding wafers is new to me. I usually only add seasonal fruits. Thanks for sharing.


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