Southern banana pudding is an iconic dessert seen at every Southern church potluck. My fluffy Southern banana pudding takes it to the next level!
I love desserts of all shapes, forms, and fashions, but no pie, cake, or cobbler can hold a candle to banana pudding, at least not in the encyclopedia of Southern cooking. Not in my mind anyway. You will not go to a church potluck or a family reunion south of the Mason-Dixon line and not find a bowl heaped with vanilla pudding, bananas, and vanilla wafers. And honestly, when I think of Easter desserts, banana pudding is on the top of the list. Cold (my version, anyway-we’ll talk more about that in a minute!) and creamy, banana pudding hits on everyone’s desire for something a little lighter and fruitier than the rich chocolate desserts they’ve been gorging on all winter.
Another fact about banana pudding that I found surprising is that warm banana pudding is considered traditional in the South, while cold banana pudding is considered native to the North. Um…I grew up in Tennessee. In fact, I have not lived outside of Tennessee at all ever and I have never, ever been served a warm banana pudding. I didn’t know they existed until a few years ago! In my mind, cold banana pudding is Southern banana pudding.
A survey of my Facebook followers found a pretty even split between cold and warm pudding lovers. I like things the way I like them…I suppose I will have to try it warm someday, but for now I think I’ll stick to cold banana pudding (my sister and her husband, whose mom makes her banana pudding warm, pointed out that warm banana pudding must be eaten immediately as it doesn’t keep/reheat well…so we’ll call it basic economics. Waste not want not.).
You guys know, though, that I can’t just make the Jell-O instant pudding + Cool Whip version that I grew up with. I mean, if someone makes it for me, I’m definitely going to eat it…but I wanted to make my banana pudding from scratch, with real whipped cream. A little something extra that my sister started doing is folding the whipped cream into the pudding to make a fluffy banana pudding. She gets a ton of compliments on her banana pudding…it’s pretty amazing. By the way, if you don’t like bananas (I know a lot of people can’t really deal with the texture) this pudding would also be delicious with pineapple or strawberries.
What’s your banana pudding vote-warm or cold? Comment below and let me know! Either way, I bet you’ll love my fluffy Southern banana pudding.
Yield: 8-10 servings
30 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 box vanilla wafers
- 4-6 just ripe bananas (yellow, not brown!)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Add the eggs and egg yolk and whisk until well combined. Slowly whisk in the milk until well combined. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened and about 175 degrees. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Add vanilla and whisk to combine. Use a spatula to scrape into a bowl. Press wax or parchment paper down over the surface and refrigerate until completely chilled.
- Slice the bananas into 1/4 inch slices. Toss with the lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the cream with the remaining sugar until it reaches soft peaks. Carefully fold 2/3 of the whipped cream into the chilled pudding until light and fluffy.
- Place a small amount of the pudding into the bottom of a medium bowl. Follow with a layer of vanilla wafers and a layer of banana. Top with 1/3 of the pudding. Repeat twice, finishing with a layer of pudding. Top with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.