Caramelized Banana Pudding

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Caramelized Banana Pudding

Skip to the recipe

Imagine the grown-up version of a classic southern dessert that all you banana lovers enjoy: this Caramelized Banana Pudding is just that. This recipe features homemade vanilla wafers (a recipe you’ll want to keep in your back pocket), sweet, custardy-pudding, and caramelized bananas coated in sugary-cinnamon goodness all layered together into a delicious dessert. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big banana fan. But this recipe may have changed that!

So first, a HUGE thank you to everyone who filled out my survey! You’ve helped me gain so many insights, and now I know exactly what you want to see and will do my best to deliver. In summary, I have a huge sourdough journey ahead of me. Banana pudding was actually a recipe requested by our survey drawing winner, Ryan Friedman! So congratulations Ryan, thanks for taking my survey, and I hope you enjoy this recipe. :D

I’ll also be posting a lot of quick “this or that” and “what would you like?” questions on Instagram to bake those specific mango, Asian-inspired, or “baking for one” recipes you want to see, so stay tuned and keep providing your feedback. And please feel free to message me on Instagram or through the Leveled Blue blog to tell me more specifics! Or to just say hi, I love that :)

Back to the banana pudding!

This recipe was so much fun to create, I really do love getting special requests. I wanted to modernize the traditional banana pudding at least a little bit, so my first thought was to make homemade vanilla wafers. I forgot how delicious these cookies are on their own, like why didn’t I ever think of making these before? Point being, keep this cookie recipe around and feel free to use it for more than just banana pudding.

The custard-pudding element of this recipe is also 100% from scratch, no Jello boxes needed my friends! The key here is to use medium heat and to stir constantly to prevent the custard from burning, but I promise it’s easier to make than it may sound.

Finally, why use plain old sliced bananas when you can caramelize them? Exactly. These caramelized bananas are coated in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom to add delicious warmth to the sweet custard and cookies. You can also feel free to add in a splash of bourbon or brandy to the bananas to give this an extra bananas foster feeling.

Sending you on your banana pudding way – meanwhile, I’ll be planning out the next few weeks’ worth of recipes based on all of your survey responses!

xoxo Katie


The Recipe

Caramelized Banana Pudding

This take on the classic southern dessert combines homemade pudding with warm, spiced, caramelized bananas and from-scratch vanilla wafers.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the pudding and caramelized bananas

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, optional
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon, optional
  • 4 bananas, cut into 1/4” slices
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Toasted pecans for topping, optional

Instructions

  1. For the homemade vanilla wafers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the milk followed by the flour mixture. Mix until the dough is well combined and smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough into 1/2” balls and place on the baking sheets 1” apart from each other. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the wafers are golden brown around the edges. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. This recipe makes about 50 to 60 wafers.
  6. Next, make the pudding. In a medium saucepan whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place the pan over medium heat and gradually whisk in the milk until combined. Stir regularly until the mixture has thickened and is slight bubbling, for about 6 to 10 minutes. Allow to cook for 2 minutes more once thickened, stirring constantly.
  7. Place the egg yolks in a large heat proof bowl. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks in the bowl while whisking vigorously. Once combined, pour the milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 more minutes. The mixture will be about heavy cream consistency.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of butter until melted and well combined. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and allow to cool and chill in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  9. Finally, prepare the caramelized bananas. Combine 1/2 stick butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cardamom and bourbon if using in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir gently until melted and combined. Add the sliced bananas to the pan and cook for about 1 minute, flip, and cook for 1 minute on the other side. Remove pan from the heat and transfer the bananas to a heat proof bowl, allowing to cool slightly before assembling.
  10. To assemble, coarsely crumble about 2/3 of your vanilla wafers (keep the best-looking ones whole for a garnish). Sprinkle half of the crumbled wafers into an 8 x 8” or 9 x 9” square baking dish (or on the bottom of 4 individual serving glasses, ramekins, or jars). Place half of the banana mixture evenly on top of the crumbled wafers and then dollop half of the pudding mixture over the bananas; it is ok if the bananas and pudding are still warm. The serving dish(es) should be about halfway full.
  11. Repeat the layering with the remaining wafers, bananas, and pudding and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Top with whipped cream, toasted pecans, and vanilla wafers as desired and serve.
  12. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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