You've seen Chef Shani's banana pudding. Here is where her recipe was inspired, by our dad's Southern Banana Pudding.
📸 Chef Shani (71ateChef)

Official Southern Banana Pudding Recipe 

It Just Might Be the Best Banana Pudding Ever!

I had to update my post showcasing my dad’s Southern Banana Pudding recipe. Why? Because my sister, Chef Shani AKA 71ateChef was featured on Cocoa Butter where she battled against two Black moms to see who has the best banana pudding, and she used our father’s Banana Pudding Recipe, of course, with her twist. And guess what? Well, I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it, so watch it below. 

The Story Behind Our Dad’s Southern Banana Pudding

There’s a background story to this banana pudding recipe.  My dad, who was born and raised in Dalzell and Sumter, South Carolina, made the best Southern banana pudding. It was his specialty. It had everything you would expect in a tasty banana pudding – homemade custard, Nilla wafers, homemade meringue, with lots of butter and love. It was truly the best! When I was younger, I’d enjoy watching him make it. Even licking the spoon used for the custard because it was so yummy! Eventually, once I became old enough to mess about the stove, I would help him make it. It was one of my favorite things to do with my dad. That and travel with him on his long-distance work trips in his truck. 

Related: Cool Off With Your Favorite Southern Dessert: Banana Pudding Popsicles

On January 6, 2012, my dad passed away. One evening, I was thinking about him. I told myself I’d try my hand at making his famous banana pudding. But listen, I only had two bananas and no milk, but I did have heavy cream. And I was missing one of the most important ingredients – the Nilla wafers!  I was determined to make this thing. My craving for it was hard!  I wound up making two personal-size banana puddings, one of which I shared with my mom. My version needed her seal of approval because out of everyone, she would definitely know if I hit the mark with recreating my dad’s Southern banana pudding.  

Related: Foodie Friday: Banana Pudding with a Twist Recipe Courtesy of 71ate Chef

Fast forward to after my mom tasted it. She loved it! Even though it was missing the Nilla wafers, she said it was good.  Check this out, homegirl went and bought Nilla wafers to put in it!  I was cracking up!  However, that did the trick. After that, the banana pudding officially tasted like my Dad’s. I guess all of my watching and helping paid off?

You've seen Chef Shani's banana pudding. Here is where her recipe was inspired, by our dad's Southern Banana Pudding.
📸 Chef Shani (71ateChef)

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

You've seen Chef Shani's banana pudding. Here is where her recipe was inspired, by our dad's Southern Banana Pudding.

Southern Banana Pudding

Kim S.
This is the best Southern Banana Pudding you'll ever try. It has everything you would expect in a tasty banana pudding - homemade custard, Nilla wafers, homemade meringue, with lots of butter and love.
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Custard Ingredients

  • 3 cups Milk you can also use 1 ½ cups heavy cream + 1 ½ cups milk
  • ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs separated
  • 1 tsp Real Vanilla Extract
  • 1 box Nilla Wafers
  • 4-6 Ripe Bananas sliced; mash 1 up

Meringue Ingredients

  • 3 Egg whites
  • tsp Cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup Sugar

Instructions
 

Custard Instructions

  • Add 3 cups of milk to a medium saucepan. Place over LOW heat on your stovetop.
  • Slowly add flour, whisking continually to avoid lumps.
  • Slowly stir in ½ cup of sugar, whisking continually until fully dissolved.
  • Use a fork and break up the egg yolks.
  • Slowly add the egg yolks to the saucepan, whisking continually to avoid making scrambled eggs. It's very important to stay with the cooking process at this point. Keep stirring.
  • Increase the heat gradually up to about medium as you constantly whisk the pudding mixture.
  • Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture up to 170°. Continue to stir it constantly as it thickens. When it reaches 170°, remove it from heat but continue to stir.
    Banana Pudding Custard
  • Add the teaspoon of Vanilla Extract and continue to stir off and on as it cools down. 
  • The custard must cool down before you begin to assemble the banana pudding.

Meringue

  • Place the room temperature egg whites in a glass or metal mixing bowl.
  • Using a mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they appear frothy in texture. (I used my Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer)
  • Add about ⅛ teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  • Increase mixer speed and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Continue to whip, increasing speed as needed until the egg whites thicken and form firm peaks. Do not overwork the egg °whites as it will cause them to lose volume.

Notes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
My dad would sometimes mash up some fresh bananas to add to the custard. I think it took his banana pudding to the next level.
Keyword Banana Pudding, Dessert
You've seen Chef Shani's banana pudding. Here is where her recipe was inspired, by our dad's Southern Banana Pudding.
📸 Chef Shani (71ateChef)

Assembling the Southern Banana Pudding

  1. When fairly cool, spread a light layer of the custard/pudding in a casserole dish.
  2. Add a layer of Vanilla Wafers. Reserve about 5 or 6 wafers for topping later.
  3. Add a layer of sliced bananas.
  4. Add a layer of custard/pudding, spreading it out to the edges of the dish.
  5. Repeat the layering process as needed, ending with a layer of the pudding mixture on top.
  6. Crumble the 5 or 6 reserved wafers and sprinkle on top. 
  7. Use a spatula and gently spread the meringue over the pudding mixture.
  8. Gently dab the spatula up and down in the meringue to form small swirls and peaks.
  9. Sprinkle brown sugar on top (if you want to get fancy)
  10. Place the dish in the preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Observe it carefully, so the egg white meringue doesn’t burn. It just needs to be lightly toasted and browned.
  11. Remove from oven, let cool, refrigerate until cold then serve. (I like to eat mine warm)

Have you had Southern Banana Pudding?

If not, try making it on your own using this Southern Banana Pudding Recipe. Come back and let us know how you enjoyed it.

My dad, who was born and raised in Dalzell and Sumter, South Carolina, made the best Southern banana pudding. It was his specialty. It had everything you would expect in a tasty banana pudding - homemade custard, Nilla wafers, homemade meringue, with lots of butter and love. It was truly the best!

Chef Shani (71ateChef) can be found on Instagram and Facebook.

 
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Kim S.
Owner
Kim is a 30-something-year-old wife and do-it-all mom of two beautiful daughters; her rainbow babies. Kim uses Beauty and the Bump NYC, to share her perspective about the things that she loves most and finds beautiful: family, travel, cars, food and more. As a contributor to A Girl’s Guide to Cars, Kim shares her love for cars through providing helpful tips and car reviews from the perspective of a modern working mom.