As soon as my husband and I moved to New York, my friend Morgan told us that we absolutely had to try the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery. The way he described the dessert made it seem as if it were an ethereal experience. He proclaimed that it was the best dessert he has ever had and that there was nothing like it anywhere on Earth. We were at a pizza place close to Magnolia one day, but alas, it was a Saturday afternoon, the line was insanely long, and we had somewhere to be. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that we were in Morgan‘s apartment and he proudly presented us with his favorite treat, the infamous banana pudding from Magnolia. This banana pudding sure had a lot to live up to, and let me tell you, it went beyond what I thought was possible. It was so luscious, so soft, and so deliciously rich. It also had real bananas in it and the texture that those little chunks of banana added to the vanilla pudding was incredible. The best part, though, were the vanilla wafers floating between layers of homemade whipped cream and velvety vanilla pudding. We were on our way out again, though, so we each only had one bite before we were off. I knew I had to try to make this heavenly dessert on my own immediately.
It’s always intimidating to imitate another recipe, especially when you’ve only tasted it once. I knew that I had to let the vanilla wafers soak up the banana and vanilla goodness, and that I had to make the pudding and whipped cream from scratch, or else it just wouldn’t be the same. I got to work. The end result was actually quite easy, especially considering the only cooking you have to do is making the pudding over the stove, which takes all of 10 minutes. I layered the banana, vanilla wafers, and vanilla pudding in a loaf pan and let it sit in the fridge for 6 hours, after which I topped the whole lot off with homemade whipped cream and crushed vanilla wafers, as Magnolia Bakery does. This is a pretty close replica, if I may say so myself. The textures work so well together and everything just melts in your mouth. I would even go as far to say that the pudding is better the next day, after everything has set together for over 30 hours. The wafers soak up all of the flavors and believe me, when you serve this dessert to your friends and family, they’ll be begging for more!
In a medium sauce pan, combine the granulated sugar, vanilla extract, cornstarch, whole milk, salt, egg, and egg yolk. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture has started to thicken and bubble like hot lava (AKA thick pudding with bubbles that sound like a ‘plopping’ noise because of said thickness). This should take 8-10 minutes.
When the pudding is cool to the touch (it doesn’t have to be completely cold), begin to layer the other ingredients. Start with a layer of sliced bananas, then a layer of wafers, then the pudding. Repeat two or three more times (depending on how big your pan is – adjust the amount of pudding needed as necessary).
Do this as many times as possible. I cut my bananas pretty thin, and the wafers don’t have to be completely uniform. The final top layer should be pudding (bananas, wafers, pudding, bananas, wafers, pudding, and so on). Place the banana pudding in the fridge, covered with foil or plastic wrap, for 5-6 hours.
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 cups whole milk (don’t substitute for anything else, or it won’t be as rich)
- 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large bananas, sliced thinly
- 10.5 ounces vanilla wafers (about 80 wafers – reserve 8 for crushing)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, egg, egg yolk, whole milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk together until combined, then continue whisking for 8-10 minutes, until the pudding begins to bubble like hot lava (AKA thick pudding with bubbles that sound like a ‘plopping’ noise because of said thickness). Add in the unsalted butter, reduce heat to the lowest setting, and whisk until completely melted. Pour the pudding through a mesh sieve into a separate bowl, then allow to sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, until cool to the touch.
- When the pudding is ready, begin to layer your pudding. First, place a layer of bananas in the bottom of a 9×5 inch loaf pan (or something of similar size), then a layer of vanilla wafers (it doesn’t have to be perfect, because when you scoop up the pudding to serve, everything gets served together), then a layer of pudding. Repeat this banana, wafer, pudding layering until the last layer is pudding. Place in the fridge for 5-6 hours, covered in tin foil or plastic wrap.
- When the pudding is ready, whip together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until peaks form, about 5 minutes at the most. Top the pudding with the whipped cream, then sprinkle some crushed wafers over the top of the pudding. Keeps well in the fridge for 3 days. Serves 8.