Storified by Arya McLean· Sat, Mar 30 2013 17:42:12
An old fashioned dessert that is quick and simple to make, banana pudding is a luscious Southern treat consisting of layers of custard, wafer cookies, and banana slices topped with whipping cream. This gourmet cookin recipe, adapted from The Blue Willow Inn Cookbook by Jane & Michael Stern, is so easy to make that the whole thing can be done in ten minutes, although you need to chill the dessert in the refrigerator after assembling it. You can use vanilla wafer cookies, as suggested in this recipe or you can also use ladyfingers. Instead of whipped cream, you can also top the banana pudding with meringue
While banana pudding is typically associated with Southern cuisine in the U.S. it is also quite popular in many parts of the country and enjoyed throughout the rest of the world wherever bananas can be found. A National Banana Pudding Festival is held at the Hickman County and Fairgrounds just outside Centerville, Tennessee. In England, banana pudding closely resembles the English Trifle, which consists of layers of custard, sponge cake, fruits, and whipped cream.
In other variations of banana pudding, the whole is baked and served warm. The refrigerated method, which this recipe employs, is the more popular and the more convenient, ideal for those with busy lifestyles. In other recipes, ready made vanilla pudding is used instead of custard, which thus requires no cooking at all and the cook simply has to assemble the ingredients together and chill it in the fridge. In yet other versions, wafer cookies are not included.
After layering the custard, wafers, bananas, and whipped cream in a dish and chilling it in the fridge, the wafers absorb the custard overtime pressing the ingredients together and allowing the flavors to meld and mingle creating a lusciously harmonious dish. You can either slice the bananas into rounds or long thin strips.