Thursday, March 14, 2013

Easy Homemade Banana Pudding Recipe

I'm from Upstate New York. My husband is a native Texan. I had never even tasted banana pudding until I moved down here four years ago. My husband absolutely loves it. I could have taken the easy route and bought the store-bought, boxed kind, but I always prefer making desserts from scratch whenever possible. And so began my online search for the perfect Homemade Banana Pudding Recipe.

I found many, many versions of this Southern favorite, but found A Cowboy's Wife's recipe to be the simplest. I followed her recipe, but my first attempt turned out sort of gritty. The second time around I substituted cornstarch for flour and margarine for butter, added a bit more sugar, cut down on the vanilla wafers and voila! It was deliciously smooth and creamy! It's been a hit with the hubby ever since. Incidentally, whenever I think I might be partaking in this delectable treat I substitute almond milk for whole milk (my IBS can't tolerate it) and it works beautifully.

Here's my recipe:

2-3 Ripe Bananas
1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Milk
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp Margarine (or butter)
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Box Vanilla Wafers

Place a layer of vanilla wafers at the bottom of a medium to large size bowl. It doesn't have to be pretty. Slice bananas on top. Set aside for now.

In a medium saucepan (no heat yet), combine the cornstarch, sugar and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Set the burner on low to medium. Slowly add the milk, a cup at a time. Stir, stir, stir constantly until the mixture thickens (you may start to wonder if it might not thicken...don't worry, it will). Remove from heat. Add the vanilla and margarine (or butter if you prefer). Stir to melt the margarine and incorporate the vanilla. Pour the pudding over the wafers and bananas to cover completely. Crush some more wafers and sprinkle on top. Place in refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight.

A couple of tips:

Like all cooking and baking, it's important to prepare your ingredients and utensils before you begin. Since this is a pudding and needs to be stirred constantly, the last thing you want is to be running around searching and grabbing.

Preparing the wafers and bananas in the bowl ahead of time allows you to pour the pudding immediately.

Add more wafers if you really like them.

Combining the sugar, cornstarch and eggs before turning on the burner gives you time to incorporate these ingredients fully and prevents the eggs from scrambling (yuck).

When it comes to vanilla...less is best. I don't know why manufacturers make vanilla bottles with such wide openings. In my opinion, this makes it too easy to overpour. Vanilla has a lot of alcohol and it WILL NOT cook out of this recipe since it's added at the end.

As mentioned above, this recipe can be made with almond or coconut milk (I've tried both) for those who are lactose intolerant or have other tummy troubles (or if you want to cut down on calories). I haven't tried rice milk so I can't attest to it.

Regular vanilla wafers are really easy to crush. The lowfat wafers are harder (not sure why) so place them in a ziplock bag and roll them over with a rolling pin.

Please let me know how this recipe works for you!


Thanks to A Cowboy's Wife for sharing her recipe, which I tweaked only slightly!

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