There seem to be two family trees for banana pudding in the South: the traditional custard-based kind made at home, which places a premium on creamy pudding topped with fluffy meringue, and the kind bought from barbecue joints, which is often just banana slices and vanilla wafers suspended in puffy clouds of sweet whipped cream. This recipe combines the best of both, then gets a little Elvis-y by whipping peanut butter into the topping, inspired by Presley’s favorite sandwich, the grilled PB&B. The result is banana pudding fit for a king.
Food & Drink
Banana Pudding with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream
An Elvis-inspired take on the crowd-pleasing dessert
Photo: Jacqueline Stofsick | Food Styling: Phillip Rhodes
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
4 large ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into rounds
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups half-and- half
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the topping
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. cold heavy cream
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced bananas, tossing to coat, and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the bananas are soft and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, 1⁄4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and salt until smooth and pale in color. In a large saucepan, combine the half-and-half, milk, and remaining 1⁄2 cup sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed and lightly steaming. Temper the egg yolk mixture: slowly whisk 1⁄2 cup of the hot half-and-half mixture into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan with the half-and-half mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbles begin to form and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; add the remaining 2 tbsp. butter and the vanilla and stir until the butter is melted.
Arrange a single layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 2-quart dish or trifle bowl. Top with half of the sautéed bananas. Spoon half of the pudding on top of the bananas; layer again with vanilla wafers, bananas, and the remaining pudding. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the Topping: Put the 2 tbsp cream and the peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until creamy and thinned, about 30 seconds. Let cool completely, then transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining 2 cups cream and the confectioners’ sugar. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
To serve, line the rim of the serving dish with more vanilla wafers, dollop the topping over the pudding, and sprinkle with crushed vanilla wafers.
Recipe from The Southerner’s Cookbook