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Na’Nilla Pudding

Category: Recipe
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I’ve probably had, maybe 20 bananas my whole life. Whenever we get fruit smoothies, I always get mine without banana and I’ll never understand the appeal of strawberry-banana flavored candy. Blech. But something strange happens every once in awhile.. I’ll crave bananas. Maybe it’s a certain phase of the moon, or my body craving potassium, who knows?

This was one of those times. I decided to make banana pudding, with vanilla cookies. Would you believe it was hard to find a decent pudding recipe? I understand deadlines and soccer practice but really, some of these recipes were downright awful. Instant pudding here, sweetened condensed milk there… again, BLECH. (Oh, btw, I’m obsessed with instant pistachio pudding.. so I’m not hatin’ on the instant stuff, I’m just confused as to why there are so few homemade recipes out there in cyberspace.)

Then there’s my friend, Cooks Illustrated*. Since I’ve never made pudding before, I wanted to know how to really make it, and Cooks Illustrated had just that: a basic, real pudding. Once I got the general idea down, I messed with it a little (because we all know that I cant leave well enough alone.)

  • 3 C half ‘n half
  • 3/4 C white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Nilla Wafers
  • 1 banana (you can use 2 or 3, depending on how much banana you like)
  1. Mix the half ‘n half, salt, and 1/2 of the sugar in a pot and slowly heat up until it just starts to simmer (small bubbles)
  2. In a bowl, add the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar, and add the cornstarch and whisk until combined.
  3. Once the half ‘n half comes to a simmer, take a ladle of the hot milk, and while whisking the eggs, slowly pour the hot milk into the bowl of egg yolks. This is called tempering. You’re slowly raising the temperature of the eggs so that they don’t scramble when they hit the hot milk.
  4. After you’ve added and whisked about three(3) ladles worth of the hot milk, go ahead and dump the bowl of eggs into the pot and whisk together.
  5. The cornstarch will now start doing it’s job, by thickening the mixture. So keep the heat on medium/low, and stand there and whisk until you see it start to bubble like thick porridge. This should only take about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Once thickened, take off the heat, and at this point, you could pass the pudding through a strainer just to make sure you don’t have any solids in it. Add the butter and vanilla, and stir in your bananas. It may seem a little thin right now, but as it cools in the fridge, it will set.
  7. You can make these into cutesy parfaits, but I don’t own any of those glasses, so I opted for a simple dish, and garnished with the vanilla cookies. There’s no specific method for this… just add ’em however you want! I add the cookies right away because I like how soft and cakey they become. If you want your cookies to stay crunchy, wait until the pudding is completely cooled before adding them.

This pudding was a total win for me, the banana hater. I chopped up my bananas pretty fine, but the delicate banana flavor they developed in the creamy pudding was just right. This took me literally about 10 minutes to make, it was really easy and satisfying knowing that all my ingredients are easily pronounced and have no preservatives. 🙂 I still don’t love bananas, but when that random craving strikes, I will happily look to this recipe.

*Cooks Illustrated doesn’t know me, and I don’t know them. I’m just a big fan of their magazine.

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10 Notes

  1. Clark T. says:

    I recognize that baking dish. The pudding sounds good. I should bring my ice cream recipe next time we hang out, that would be a fun project.

  2. ST says:

    i understand not wanting instant pudding in a pudding recipe (then it’s not even a recipe, haha), but why the sweetened condensed milk hate? i probably wouldn’t use it in a pudding but i don’t think it’s an invalid ingredient. just curious.

  3. i’ve tried banana nilla pudding before. so good, but so fattening. haha

  4. Jun says:

    I love bananas. I’m going to love this, I’m very sure!

  5. Mmmm…I love banana pudding! This looks so super easy and delicious. I have never made my own pudding before, I think it is about time! I am bookmarking this one! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  6. Pingback: eat: Banana Pudding | thought i might suggest...