Banana Pudding

"I used to have an aversion to banana pudding," Alisa laughs. "To me, it had always seemed like a chain restaurant food: open a can of pudding and dump it into a bowl with banana slices and cookies. You see this on dessert buffets all around the country, and it's not pretty. When they told me they needed a banana pudding recipe, I said, no way I am using a can!" The result is a recipe for what we would consider the best banana pudding there is.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
Ingredients

Vanilla Cream

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1/4 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped out
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

Homemade Nilla Wafers

  • 1 1/8 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Toppings

  • 1.5 cups sweetened whipped cream
  • 5 bananas sliced thinly
Method

The Vanilla Cream

  • For the vanilla cream, place the cornstarch in a bowl. Add enough of the milk to completely dissolve it. Add the egg yolks to the cornstarch and whisk together.
  • Place the vanilla bean and sugar in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot. Add the remaining milk and bring it to a boil.
  • Once the milk is boiling, reduce the heat to prevent it from boiling over. With a small ladle, whisk a small amount of the milk into the egg yolk mixture. Repeat this step until 1/3 of the milk is mixed into the eggs.
  • Whisk the milk-egg yolk mixture back into the remaining boiling milk and return it to a boil while you continue to whisk it. The mix will thicken quickly. Continue to whisk for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and pour the cream into a heat-proof dish. Press plastic wrap onto the surface and place in the refrigerator to cool.

The Wafers

  • For the wafers, place 1 cup of the sugar and eggs in a stainless steel bowl and whisk together.
  • Place the bowl over simmering water and whisk until sugar dissolves and the eggs are warmer then your body temperature.
  • Immediately pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whip on high speed until the mixture forms mounds when you lift the beater out.
  • Sift the flour over the eggs in several batches, folding it in gently. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Using a piping bag with a straight tip, pipe the batter out into quarter size cookies. Sprinkle liberally with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes or until completely golden or light brown.

To Assemble

  • To assemble, spread a small amount of the vanilla cream in a decorative trifle dish.
  • Top with layer of sliced fresh bananas and then layer of cookies. Spread enough vanilla cream over this to create a smooth and level surface. Repeat these steps to fill the dish, ending with a layer of cream.
  • Wrap well and allow the pudding to sit 6 to 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Before serving decorate with the whipped cream, cookies, and banana slices.

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