Ever since I had my first bite of banana pudding from the famed Buttercup Bake Shop in NYC, I knew one day I’d have to make it at home. And now, I have.
Bananas and I don’t always agree. The texture leaves much to be desired, and while I do eat them because of the ease of preparation and health benefits, sometimes I have to gag them down. It’s not the most pleasant of experiences. I prefer baking with bananas to eating them au natural.
Banana pudding is an exception. With layers of vanilla wafer cookie, banana pudding, whipped cream, and, in this case, toffee bits, what’s not to love? It’s a great mushy mess, but it’s one that’s worth facing texture fears for. You will be greatly rewarded for your effort!
There are a variety of manners in which to pay homage to this traditionally Southern treat–Nutter Butter Banana Pudding Trifle, Banana Pudding Pie, Banana Pudding Cheesecake–but I decided to go with a trifle-ish version, adding my own little twist. I was thinking Banoffee Pie when I sprinkled toffee bits into my pudding, and it worked wonderfully. A little bit of sweet, buttery crunch in a treat that otherwise lacks definition: it’s like they were made for each other.
Many use Nilla wafers in their banana pudding, but I wanted to take it to the next level. I adapted Ezra Pound Cake’s Vanilla Wafer Cookies, which formed the perfect base for a variation on Emeril Lagasse’s Deep Dish Banana Pudding. There are no shortcuts here, but your time investment will pay off. There’s nothing better than a truly, completely homemade dessert. Your guests will thank you for it. So will your stomach.
Now there’s no need to go to New York for banana pudding anymore. I’ve got this covered. At home.
Vanilla Wafer Cookies
- 1 cup 16 Tablespoons, 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/8 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt, beating until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg yolks, then the vanilla extract.
- Add the flour gradually with the mixer on low, beating until well incorporated.
- Divide the dough into 4 sections and roll each out into a 6- or 7-inch log. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove 1 log from the fridge and cut into quarter-inch slices. Place on cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Repeat with the remaining logs until it is all baked.
- You can also freeze the logs for up to 2 months, thawing in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon banana bakery emulsion
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 dash ground cinnamon
- 24 vanilla wafer cookies from previous recipe
- 1/4 cup toffee bits
- 4 ripe bananas sliced crosswise, then in half
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs until the whites and yolks are well combined. Set aside.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the brown sugar and flour.
- Add the milk and heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it starts to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 3 minutes, whisking the whole time, until thickened.
- Remove from heat.
- Remove 1 cup of the pudding and slowly pour it into the eggs, whisking the whole time, to temper them. Beat until well combined.
- Pour the egg mixture into the pudding, whisk it together, and return to the heat.
- Bring it to a boil again and then lower the heat, simmering for 2 minutes, whisking the whole time.
- Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla, and banana bakery emulsion (it may bubble up--be careful not to get burned). Whisk until the butter is melted completely and all ingredients are incorporated.
- Transfer to a clean bowl to cool to room temperature. If not assembling right away, after it has cooled, cover with plastic wrap (being sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the pudding) and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- When ready to assemble, using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat together the heavy whipping cream, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon until you get soft peaks. Set aside.
- Get out 12 small dessert cups and crumble 1 vanilla wafer cookie in each cup.
- Sprinkle some toffee bits into each cup.
- Sprinkle some banana over the top.
- Scoop about 2 generous spoonfuls (I used the large spoons for eating, not to be confused with a measuring Tablespoon) into each cup.
- Repeat with the vanilla wafer cookies, toffee bits, and bananas.
- Dollop some whipped cream on top and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Next month, we’ll be making Sfogliatelle Pastry. I had no clue what this was when Kate suggested it, but it sounds divine–all those layers of flaky pastry with a ricotta filling. This will definitely be a challenge! For more details on how to participate, click on the First on the First tab above–we’d love to have you join us!