If you’ve ever visited the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City (which was iconic for being one of the first places to bring cupcakes to the forefront), many New Yorkers will tell you that one of the most delicious treats of all is not their cupcakes. Rather, it’s their Banana Pudding.
This pudding is technically a trifle, consisting of alternating layers of fluffy vanilla cake, creamy custard, and bananas. And it is so addicting that I became obsessed with figuring out how to make it. So, after a bit of trial and error - including several “research” visits to analyze the flavor profile and ingredients - I created my own version of this recipe so that you too could try it at home (and save you a huge take-out bill if you’re not from NYC!).
Amazingly, the cake component can actually be formed from vanilla wafer cookies, as they will absorb some of the custard to create a cake-like layer. And between the flavors of vanilla, cream and bananas, it’s a match made in heaven. The best part is that this is a simple, no bake recipe that is perfect for the summer (but even in the winter it’s great, as bananas are always available!). Whether it be for a picnic, BBQ to a potluck party, this is a great homemade food gift that is sure to be a hit.
Yield: 6 cups (about 3 pint-sized / 500 ml jars)
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 40 minutes
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. milk (divided into 1/4 c. and 1 3/4 c.)
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp. butter, cut into small cubes
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. whipping cream
1 box vanilla wafers (such as Nilla Wafers)
4 bananas, sliced
1) In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt until blended, and then whisk in 1/4 c. of milk to form a paste.
2) Whisk in the egg yolks, then add the remaining 1 3/4 c. of milk.
3) Place the saucepan over medium heat and continue to whisk the mixture until it just begins to thicken, about 4-6 minutes.
4) Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes a custard (it should forms ribbons in the mixture when drizzled), about 2-4 minutes. DO NOT OVER HEAT*
5) Immediately remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and butter. Stir until the butter has completely melted.
6) Refrigerate the custard for 2 hours or until completely chilled.
7) Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, mix the cream until fully whipped.
8) Fold cream into the chilled custard to make a pudding.
9) In a pint-sized / 500 ml jar, place a single and even layer of vanilla wafers, pudding, and sliced bananas, repeating in that order until the top of the jar has been reached. Repeat for each additional jar until all of the ingredients have run out, then cover and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours (to ensure the vanilla wafers absorb the pudding). Keep chilled until ready to serve, and consume within 1-2 days.
* Chef’s Tip: When heating the egg yolks, be careful about over cooking them as you’ll end up with lumpy, scrambled eggs! Keep an eye on the thickness and stir the mixture frequently while making the custard. When it’s at the consistency you’re looking for, immediately remove it from the heat to prevent additional cooking.
This homemade food gift works great with tall and clear jars, such as a pint-sized / 500 ml mason jar to even large sizes (like a quart / 1 L). To make the gift look extra pretty, try attaching a flower to the top of the jar. My favorite of all is this printable pattern and tutorial by Lia Griffith for a sunny yellow paper ranunculus flower - isn’t it pretty?