Celebrate Mardi Gras with a big bowl of Southern Banana Pudding. Silky smooth homemade banana pudding layered with sliced bananas and a crisp crumble topping. Growing up my mom would make banana pudding all of the time. It was my brothers favorite dessert so she would always have it on the table for special occasions and holidays. She would use instant banana pudding and layer it between slices of banana and vanilla wafers. As much as I loved the way the wafers softened in the pudding, I would always crumble a few crisp ones on top. If you ask me, you can never have too many vanilla wafers in your banana pudding!
I like how this recipe keeps all the wafers crisp by sprinkling it on top right before serving, it provides a great contrast to silky pudding and soft bananas. If you have never made pudding from scratch you will be surprised at how easy it is. No more of that instant pudding nonsense! Go ahead and dig in!
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes
For the Pudding:
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons banana liqueur (or 1 teaspoon banana flavoring)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas
For the Crumble:
1 cup vanilla wafers (about 15 cookies)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
To make the pudding: in a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt; set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring the milk to a boil. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the yolk mixture a little at a time to temper them. Pour the mixture back into a clean medium saucepan, add the banana liqueur, and whisk over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Cook while constantly whisking until the pudding is glossy and quite thick, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the pudding to a clean bowl.
Add the vanilla and butter and gently whisk until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 3 days..
To make the crumble: While the pudding sets, heat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the wafers in a resealable plastic bag and seal. Using a rolling pin, crush the vanilla wafers until they're coarsely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl and stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle with butter and toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and toast in the oven until brown and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature)
To serve: Slice the bananas in half crosswise and then slice in half lengthwise so you have 4 quarters. Slice the banana quarters crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces and divide between 6 custard cups (sprinkle with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning). Whisk the pudding until it is soft and smooth, about 30 seconds, and then divide it between the custard cups. Top with the vanilla wafer mixture and serve.
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