The Real Deal Banana Pudding

I was perusing food blogs today, as usual, and I came across one where someone who grew up in the Midwest was extolling the virtues of southern cuisine. Pimento cheese specifically. This blogger talked about how he grew up on a diet of pretty bland fare and only discovered the wonders and variety of southern cuisine after he had reached adulthood. This got me thinking. I really need to get back to what I know and do best. What I call Southern Farmhouse cooking. There are, of course, all kinds of different southern cuisines…creole, cajun, tex-mex, then there’s the whole coastal thing from the Carolinas right on around through Key West and New Orleans and more. Southern cuisine is so varied and complex, it’s even thought of by Southerners in regions of its own.

Now, when I was growing up things were even more regionalized than they are today. People didn’t travel as widely nor did we get exotic ingredients on a regular basis in the grocery store. Also, people grew the majority of their food. Summers were as much a time for playing and enjoying being out of school as they were for “puttin’ up.” For those of you who have not yet reached a certain age, that means freezing and canning fresh produce to last through the year until the next gardening season.

But, I’m rambling again. Tend to do that more and more. Back to the topic of today’s post.

One of the things that shows up on at every church dinner-on-the-grounds (if you don’t know what that is, you really aren’t from the South) and family reunion in the southern states is Banana Pudding. I’m talking about the real deal. Not any instant jello pudding with bananas, either. A banana pudding with creamy custard, sliced bananas, ‘nilla wafers and a meringue piled high on the top. And, would you believe, it takes almost no longer to make than the instant pudding kind.

Go ahead and make one for your family. They’ll love you!

Here’s what you need:

3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Dash salt
3 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
45 NILLA Wafers, divided
5 ripe bananas, sliced (about 3 1/2 cups), divided
Additional NILLA Wafers and banana slices, for garnish

banpud_step1Mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Blend in 3 egg yolks and milk.

banpud_thickened

Cook, uncovered, over boiling water, stirring constantly for 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

banpud_1stlayer

Reserve 10 wafers for garnish. Spread small amount of custard on bottom of 1 1/2-quart casserole; cover with a layer of wafers and a layer of sliced bananas.

banpud_layersPour about 1/3 of custard over bananas. Continue to layer wafers, bananas and custard to make a total of 3 layers of each, ending with custard.

banpud_meringue

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Spoon on top of pudding, spreading evenly to cover entire surface and sealing well to edges.

banpud_ready

Bake at 350°F in top half of oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Cool slightly or refrigerate. Garnish with additional wafers and banana slices just before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Enjoy!
© The Nabisco Co.

The Real Deal Banana Pudding
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The original and best banana pudding from the Nabisco Company 'Nilla Wafers box.
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 45 NILLA Wafers, divided
  • 5 ripe bananas, sliced (about 3 1/2 cups), divided
  • Additional NILLA Wafers and banana slices, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Blend in 3 egg yolks and milk. Cook, uncovered, over boiling water, stirring constantly for 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Remove
  2. from heat; stir in vanilla.
  3. Reserve 10 wafers for garnish. Spread small amount of custard on bottom of 1 1/2-quart casserole; cover with a layer of wafers and a layer of sliced bananas. Pour about 1/3 of custard over bananas. Continue to layer wafers, bananas and custard to make a total of 3 layers of each, ending with custard.
  4. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Spoon on top of pudding, spreading evenly to cover entire surface and sealing well
  5. to edges.
  6. Bake at 350°F in top half of oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Cool slightly or refrigerate. Garnish with additional wafers and banana slices just before serving.
  7. Makes 8 servings.
Notes
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Comments

  1. says

    Oh my, this is such a “keeper”…i have never had this version before but be sure we will test this one out this weekend! Love it that ou are do what you know best!! that is always a winner. best, s

  2. Miss P says

    Was it Aunt Margie that always made banana puddin’? I can’t remember exactly which aunt, but I certainly remember the wonderful taste. It is worth the small amount of extra effort. Thanks for the memory.

    Miss P

  3. bree1972 says

    I loved your comments today about past cooking and shopping routines. My mom was always looking at new recipes, but she hardly ever tried them because “I don’t have that in my cabinet”. If it wasn’t made with eggs, flour, sugar, milk, cornmeal, or “grease”, it meant an extra trip to the store, where she swore she could never find what the recipe called for. I have about mastered “lacy” cornbread like hers, and it has only taken 61 years.

    This was MY mom’s banana pudding recipe also, Lana. What great memories it brings back.

  4. says

    I love your commentary on southern cuisine. It reminds me of my childhood in a small town. That MOST CERTAINLY looks like the “Real Deal”. YUM. Thanks for sharing.

    And I instantly knew what you meant by “putting up”. :)

  5. says

    It’s all about those nilla wafers! We made a banana pudding cake not too long ago that knocked the socks off. Everyone loves nana pudding.

  6. Lee says

    Dear Lana, a funny story I thought you might appreciate…

    Right after discovering your blog I showed it to my boyfriend whose mom lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, of which he has fond memories. He immediately went crazy, particularly over banana pudding (which I had never heard of) and decided one day recently to make for me (as a treat, for when I stepped through the door after a long day at work) banana pudding, gormet chocolate chip cookies and perfect gin and tonics – he gave himself an hour and a half for all of this.

    Naturally, when I stepped through the door I found my entire kitchen covered in flour, sugar, sliced bananas, containers of milk, eggs, raisins and butter, kitchen appliances, oven trays, a laptop set up next to the stove, custard failing to thicken on the stove and chocolate on the floor.

    To cut a long story short, I did not freak out and after a few trips to the store he returned with some missing ingredients, including a litre of freshly made custard (the custard on the stove met with an unfortunate accident), ALL of which he used in the pudding so that the result was islands of biscuit, banana and meringue swimming in custard.

    The pudding turned out ok – you can’t put those ingredients together and not end up with something good – but I have a technical question. Is the banana meant to taste raw or cooked? In the version we had it was uncooked, even though it had been in the oven for over 20min. I would imagine that it should taste cooked..? Stephan (the boyfriend) can’t remember and enjoyed it too much to care :)

    • says

      Oh, Lee! Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had in quite a while. I can just imagine what your kitchen looked like! Tell Stephan that the bananas should be ripe but still firm, some little specks of brown on the peel but not too dark, for the pudding. The end result will be raw bananas, but they will be warm (from the warm pudding) and somewhat soft. Sort of a cross between raw and cooked, actually. The oven time is only for browning the meringue, not cooking the pudding. If you didn’t use a meringue you wouldn’t put it in the oven at all. After thinking about it I suppose you could almost call this a trifle. It should have a similar consistency.

      Hope you and Stephan will give it another try. So funny…

  7. Risaeats says

    This looks amazing. I love banana pudding. The best I had was at The Lady & Sons in Savannah, GA. That Paula Deen makes a mean Banana Pudding. This looks sooooo good. I want some right now.

    • says

      Well, this is the original recipe from Nabisco, the makers of the vanilla wafers. It’s very easy and always turns out perfectly for me.

  8. says

    My hubby recently asked for a banana pudding after visiting Tennessee and I mad a Paula Dean recipe. It was delicious but this is more of the recipe I was looking for. I’ll have to try this recipe too!

    • says

      Megan – I know people think Paula’s cooking is authentic southern food, but it’s not. She takes our basic recipes and really goes over the top with the butter, cream, etc. Give my banana pudding recipe a try and I think you’ll like it even better.

  9. Sharon says

    My family was from Oklahoma and Arkansas and banana pudding was the thing, pudding, bananas and vanilla wafers, but never meringue, that must truly be a Southern thing and I’m sure it is great, ours were topped with the cookies. Love lemon and chocolate meringue pies vs whipped topping.

    • Lana Stuart says

      Sharon – this is the original recipe from Nabisco which calls for a meringue. We love it this way, but without it would be just as good :-)

  10. Traci says

    Just made this and I had to make another batch of custard to cover the called for layers of bananas and vanilla wafers. I didn’t use it all, but it definitely needed more to cover. Has anyone else had that problem?

      • Traci says

        Thanks for the quick reply. I must have used too much on the bottom before the first layer of bananas and wafers. I was using the same recipe, but from another site. I found your site when I was searching the issue.

  11. Beverly Gillies says

    Thank you for the Delish Recipes, k have searched the supermarket for these Nilla Biscuits to no avail here in Oz, what other biscuits would/could you reccommend for this Banana Pudding, it looks awesome and so much want to try it

    • says

      Hi Beverly, I’m surprised you can’t find the cookies since I thought Nabisco was distributed globally. The “nilla wafers” are a vanilla flavored crisp cookie. Anything similar should work well. I’ve seen banana pudding made with the Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies as well. Perhaps you’d have better luck finding those. I would also think that the British digestive biscuits might work in this recipe. I’m not positive about that, but it would seem like a possible alternative.

  12. Stella says

    So often in using meringue on pies, etc., I end up with a watery mess on top resulting in a failed effort. An aunt of mine used the cornstarch recipe, which I have somewhere in my files, and always seemed successful. What is your secret, Lana?

    • says

      No secret, Stella. I just beat the whites until stiff and plop them on top. I’ve never used starch or cream of tartar in mine at all and they always turn out great.

  13. lanaann says

    Probably was Aunt Margie. She was the BEST cook! I have several of her recipes that were in the church cookbook from years ago.

  14. lanaann says

    Thanks, Erin! That’s the food that I grew up with and know the best. And I still “put up” every summer, though not as extensively as we did back then.

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