Sunday, April 02, 2006

Magnolia Bakery's Famous Banana Pudding

My attempt at food styling & photography.

I love potlucks, if for no other reason than they give me an excuse to try out recipes. (The massive quantities of food don't hurt either. Of course, for every well-made Italian Wedding Soup, there's a hot dog helper being forced down unsuspecting throats. )

For today's lunch, we brought Shane's "Viva Lula Brazilian-style Black Bean Soup" (post TK), the Peeps on the Lawn dessert salad, and the Magnolia Bakery's Famous Banana Pudding.

It's very easy pudding to make (especially since it uses instant pudding) though there are time constraints. The condensed milk-water-instant pudding base has to be chilled for a minimum of 4 hours. Once you add the whipped cream and assemble, the recipe specifies chilling everything again for at least 4 -- but no more than 8 -- hours.

Who has that time? I made the base yesterday afternoon (it firmed up quickly, but I left it in the fridge for 4 hours anyway), assembled everything last night, and placed back in the refrigerator. It was eaten around 11:15am today so, all told, it sat in my fridge, fully assembled, for 13 hours.

It was fine. More than fine: really good. And now, 24 hours after it was first assembled, it's really, really good.

I'd never whipped heavy cream before so I was a bit wary; go too far and you'll get butter. I used the balloon whisk on my Kitchen Aid mixer, cranked it to 10 and, before I knew it, I had whipped cream. Surprisingly easy -- and now I'm eager to do it again, flavoring the cream with vanilla, mint, orange, coffee, amaretto, rum ... the list goes on and on.

As for the pudding, it had a gentle banana flavor when served this morning, though I'm sure if I had used riper bananas, the flavor would have intensified. (Having said that, the bananas I used were fully yellow with spots. Anything less ripe would have been a bad idea.) Now (again, 24 hours later) the flavor is spot on. Yum.

This pudding doesn't have the heavy mouth feel typical of pudding; the whipped cream really lightens the consistency, though remains rich and filling. It's much more a banana cream than a pudding. In fact, it might be nice to serve the pudding as a pie by placing it in a Nilla crumb crust (or graham cracker crust , or chocolate cookie crust) and topping it with dollops of sweetened whipped cream, some banana slices and a few cookies. (Hmm, you might even echo bananas foster by using a cinnamon graham cracker crust and topping the pie with rum flavored whipped cream...)

I pulled this recipe from The Recipe Link , which has an extensive list of sample cookbook recipes. The pudding recipe appears here as it does on Recipe Link.

Magnolia's Famous Banana Pudding

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas [Use the kitchen measurement convertor -- LR]

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours, but no longer! - before serving.


Anonymous said...

I gotta tell you, I just love your blog. This is so neat!

Laura Rebecca said...


That is so kind of you! Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jacqui Gal said...

I also made the pudding over the weekend. And it turned out AMAZing!!! My boyfriend and I are still eating it, DAYS later...
I feeel your pain about leaving NY restaurants, etc. I just moved here from OZ and I am a serious foodie! I am thinking of doing some classes at the institue, like you said... any recommendations?

CB said...

Hi there- I recently had this for the first time at Magnolia and it was to die for... I am anxious to try to duplicate it! One question though- how many servings does this recipe make? Thanks!!

Mary said...

I made this. LOVED it. Not exactly like Magnolias, this is creamier.

Quick question: can this be used in a pie form, do you think?

Laura Rebecca said...

CB, I wish I knew exactly how many servings. If I recall correctly, I filled a medium sized serving bowl. This link says it yields 12 servings.

Mary, I'm glad you liked it! (I have not actually had the banana pudding from Magnolia, so I will take your word on this version being creamier.) Yes, I think it would be tasty as a pie, too!

T said...

This is a great recipe... I made it on Saturday and am still enjoying it. It really gets better as it sits because the Nillas get soft and the bananas release their flavor into the pudding. Also, I made one modification--I skimped on the heavy cream by one cup. It made it a bit sweeter, but it was still very creamy. You gotta try it! Absolutely delish and so much better than dishing out $4 every time you get a craving.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the recipe. I tried this pudding at Magnolia bakery and almost die for it. It is one my favorites deserts. I will try to do it in Sao Paulo where I live.