Banana Pudding (RECIPE)

July 10, 2010 § 5 Comments

When we lived in NYC, one of our favorite desserts was the luscious and rich banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. Although the bakery is best known for its cupcakes, we didn’t like them (cake too dry, frosting too sweet). But the pudding — it was heaven in a styrofoam cup. When my family came to visit us one summer, my 12-year-old brother ate multiple containers on his own.

So one day I decided to Google the recipe, and lo and behold, it is actually posted for anyone’s use online. I made it for my younger brother (and the rest of my family) when visiting them in Chicago earlier this year, and I made it again last night, as we had our neighbors over for a backyard barbecue today.

Unless you hate bananas, this is a dessert you must try; everyone I know who’s sampled it typically responds with, “Mmmm. Ohhh,” and not much else because they’re busy eating it. And, it’s easy to make — the most complicated thing is remembering to make it the day before you serve it so the pudding has time to set and the assembled dessert can meld together.

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups ice cold water

1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)

3 cups heavy cream

1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)

4 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity (I used a 5-quart dutch oven because I didn’t have anything else big enough). Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

*Note: The original recipe says to chill it at least 4 hours but no longer than 8 hours in the fridge, but I found that chilling only 8 hours left the Nilla Wafers too crunchy for my liking. By chilling it overnight, the Nilla Wafers soften, the whole thing melds together, and you get more of a creamy, cake-y consistency. But if you like your Nillas crunchy, chill it for less time.


Let me know if you try making this little piece of heaven, and tell me what you think!


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