I was shocked to realize after moving from Mississippi to California that some people had never even heard of my beloved banana pudding! Since then I’ve tasted various styles in restaurants, and I’m sad to say very few of them are made with a true custard – or topped with meringue, like my mother’s. On the other hand, that’s what makes home cooking and family traditions so special: my mom’s banana pudding will always be the best to me, even if she did borrow it from a Mississippi Junior League cookbook.
Lori Falcon, the Texas blogger behind My Wooden Spoon: Food Family, & Finds from a Cowboy’s Wife since 2007, understands the importance of family recipes. Her grandma’s homemade banana pudding (recipe below) is still the most requested dish at get-togethers with family and friends.
First of all, good banana pudding should never start with a powdered mix. “These days if you look at banana pudding recipes you’re going to find instant vanilla pudding,” she adds. “It’s a shame because it’s so much better when you make it with the basics – flour, sugar, eggs and milk. It doesn’t even take that long!”
Falcon insists on buying brand-name Nilla wafers – “I can tell a big difference” – and she doesn’t hurry the pudding process along. “You need very low heat and constant stirring,” she says.
Grandma’s Homemade Banana Pudding
1 heaping Tbs. flour
1/2 cup sugar, plus more to taste
2 cups milk
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 box Nilla wafers (save some to crumble on the top)
1 to 2 bananas, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
In a saucepan, mix the flour and sugar, then add the eggs and mix well. Over very low heat, slowly add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture has thickened. Once it is thick, add the butter and vanilla and stir to combine.
Layer the wafer cookies and bananas for a pretty presentation, then pour the custard over it. Crumble the reserved cookies on top. I refrigerate mine overnight because I like it very cold, but the pudding should be refrigerated for a few hours at least before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
Recipe and images courtesy of Lori Falcon at My Wooden Spoon.
About the author: Olivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.