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Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

by insanelygood

Nilla Wafer banana pudding is a sweet, creamy, and delectable southern dessert. Bananas, Nilla Wafers, and a rich custard make the most irresistible flavor combination!

Having friends and family over this weekend? Whip up this quick and easy pudding and make your ordinary dinner extraordinary.

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Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers

Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

Nilla Wafer banana pudding is a classic southern dessert.

Made with layers of sweet bananas, a smooth custard, and vanilla wafers, it creates a wonderful explosion of flavors and textures.

But it doesn’t end there. To top it off, the pudding is garnished with a sweet and fluffy meringue that turns into a beautiful golden brown when baked.

It’s absolutely breathtaking!

The best part? This heavenly banana pudding is easy to make. Once you’ve whipped up the custard, it’s just a matter of layering the ingredients.

When it’s done, you’ll have a stunning layered dessert that’s impossible to resist.

Ingredients

  • Bananas. Use perfectly ripe ones. Others prefer overripe bananas because they’re sweeter, but the brown spots don’t really look appetizing. But if you don’t mind the spots, by all means, use them!
  • Milk. The base of the custard. Use whole milk for a richer custard. Heavy cream works, too.
  • Sugar. To sweeten up the custard.
  • All-purpose flour. To help thicken the custard.
  • Eggs. The yolks thicken the custard and give it a rich flavor. The whites create the fluffy meringue topping.
  • Nilla Wafers. It’s the traditional ingredient for banana pudding, but you can also use other shortbread and butter cookies.

Tips for the Best Banana Pudding

  • Use a trifle bowl so that all those beautiful layers are on display. 
  • Bananas brown easily, so slice them only when you’re ready to use them. If you’ve sliced them too early, keep them in the fridge to delay the discoloration. 
  • Work quickly when assembling the layers. Once you’ve added the bananas, cover them right away with pudding. This will prevent air exposure and avoid the bananas from browning.
  • When making the custard, be sure to cook over low heat and stir regularly. Otherwise, you’ll scorch the custard and get a lumpy pudding. It will still taste great, though.
  • Let the pudding chill for at least 4 hours before serving for a more flavorful dessert.

Can This Be Made Ahead?

Absolutely. In fact, it’s the best and only option! You’ll need to give the pudding enough time in the fridge to let the flavors meld together.

It also allows the cookies to soften, such that they transform from crunchy to cake-like. Yum!

Sweet Homemade Banana Pudding

How Long Does Banana Pudding Last?

Banana pudding keeps well in the fridge for up to two days. The bananas will start to turn brown and mushy beyond that point.

But if you don’t mind the discoloration, you can keep it around for 4 to 5 days.

Don’t freeze it, though! Bananas are high in water, so your pudding will be too liquidy once frozen and thawed.

Variations for Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

Another great thing about banana pudding is that there are so many ways to add more personality and flavor to it. Here are some suggestions.

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  • Drizzle warm salted caramel sauce over the pudding for a sweet and salty flavor contrast. The lovely combination of warm and cold is a plus!
  • You can’t go wrong with ice cream. Top your pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
  • For a cheesecake-like custard, blend softened cream cheese with the custard. It’s like two desserts in one!
  • Add a tropical twist to your pudding by adding a layer of pineapple tidbits in between the wafers and bananas.
  • Chocolate and bananas always make a great pair, so go ahead and sprinkle chocolate shavings over your pudding! A chocolate sauce works, too.
  • Add a layer of toasted flaked sweetened coconut. The toasty, nutty flavor complements the sweet bananas really well. 
  • Make the kids fall in love with the pudding even more by adding a layer of mini-marshmallows. Apart from the color, they also add a lovely texture contrast to the pudding.
  • While this recipe is called Nilla Wafer pudding, feel free to use butter or shortbread cookies. Chessmen cookies and graham crackers also work great.
  • Want a boozy pudding? Replace some of the milk with rum or banana liqueur. 
  • Garnish the pudding with mint leaves, cinnamon sugar, or crushed Nilla Wafers for more flavor and a prettier presentation.

Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

Servings

8

servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, separated

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • A pinch of salt

  • 4 eggs, separated

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 35-45 Nilla Wafers or shortbread cookies

  • 5-6 ripe medium bananas, sliced

Directions

  • To make the custard, simmer one to two inches of water in a pot over low heat. Place a glass or metal bowl on top of the pot, making sure it doesn’t touch the water.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, and salt to the bowl.
  • Beat in the egg yolks and milk, and stir until the mixture is well-combined.
  • Cook the mixture over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the milk from burning.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and mix in the vanilla.
  • Spread a small amount of the custard at the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  • Layer Nilla Wafers on top of the custard. Top with a layer of sliced bananas.
  • Pour a third of the custard over the bananas. Continue layering until you get three layers of each component, ending with the custard. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To make the meringue topping, beat the egg whites with a mixer until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. You’ll know the egg whites are done when they’re glossy and they form a firm peak that holds its shape when you lift the beater.
  • Spoon over the meringue over the pudding, making sure the entire surface is covered well.
  • Bake the pudding for 5 minutes or until the meringue has turned light golden brown.
  • Let the pudding cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge before serving.
  • Garnish with banana slices and place Nilla Wafers around the edge of the dish.
Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

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