Like any true Southerner, I love banana pudding! Creamy and sweet, it has just a touch of vanilla and is filled with layered pastry cream and that old stand-by, Nilla Wafers. Classic.
This recipe is from Angelfish Cake Bakery in Charleston, SC. Honestly, it’s delicious but a bit too sweet for my taste. Next time I make it I’ll cut back on the sugar. Like sweet-tea, adjust to your own preference.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar (for the whipped cream topping)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 or 4 bananas, sliced (I used 3.5)
- 1 box of vanilla wafers
- 2 cups ground vanilla wafers
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Start with the crust: crush about half a box of vanilla wafers (I put them in a freezer bag and crushed them with my roller). In a bowl, combine the wafer crumbs with the granulated sugar and melted butter. (Next time I make this, I’ll probably use 1/4 cup sugar here instead of the 1/2 called for and I’d possibly add some crushed walnuts). Just sayin’…
Mix together and press into an ungreased pie dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes until just brown. The crust will be slightly bubbly and won’t seem crispy, but it will harden slightly as it cools. After baking, set it aside to cool on a wire rack.
Next, the crème pâtissière (pastry cream): Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a heavy saucepan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/3 cup superfine sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in the cornstarch until smooth.
Now pour just a bit of your hot milk into the mixer as it turns. This will help equalize the temperatures. If you pour your hot milk in too quickly, your egg yolks could scramble. Now continue to slowly pour in the remainder of your hot milk, whisking continuously.
Once combined, pour the mix back into the warm saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until thick. Once thick, remove from heat immediately.
Transfer to a large glass bowl and cover the crème directly with plastic wrap (like a skin). The larger the bowl, the more you can spread your cream out so it will cool faster. I put mine in the fridge.
Combine the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of superfine sugar in a mixer. (Yet another chance to cut the sugar in half, if you choose…). Whip until firm. Fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the cooled pastry cream.
Spoon the pastry cream into the crust and spread an even layer. Alternate with banana slices and vanilla wafers (cream, bananas, cream, wafers… and so on). You can create as many layers as you like. Then top with the remaining whipped cream.
Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
If you do make this, let me know what you think about the sweetness level. Was it too sweet for you? Did you adjust it beforehand? I’d love to know!