There's something about this dessert that just makes me feel so good inside, and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way. However, while the traditional Southern version of banana pudding is great, I've come up with my own take on it that uses real bananas in the pudding itself, not just as a topping.
I have to say, when I first heard about banana pudding, I assumed it was just that - a pudding made with bananas. But as it turns out, many recipes call for using vanilla pudding mix and just adding sliced bananas to it. That's all well and good, but I wanted to create a version that really highlighted the banana flavor. As for me, I absolutely love banana pudding. The problem, of course, is that when you cook real bananas, they turn an unappetizing gray color.
So I had to come up with a solution that would allow me to use real bananas in the pudding without sacrificing its appearance. What I ended up doing was infusing the pudding base with fresh bananas, then straining them out before cooking. This way, I was able to get that authentic banana flavor without any of the off-putting color. For the thickener, I decided to use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch.
I don't typically cook with cornstarch, and arrowroot powder is a great alternative. You could also use tapioca powder. Finally, I replaced the dairy in the recipe with canned coconut milk, which makes this dessert both dairy-free and simple to make with a little advance planning. And let me tell you, the addition of egg yolks gives the pudding a soft golden hue that beats gray any day.
Overall, I'm really happy with how my fresh banana pudding turned out, and I can't wait to share it with my friends and family.
Ingredients You’ll Need
If you are looking to make a creamy and satisfying treat using pantry staples and nut milks, I've got just the recipe for you! Here's what you will need:
- First and foremost, bananas are a must. Be sure to choose ones that are bright yellow with few brown spots, as this indicates that they're firm-ripe and will work best in the recipe.
- Next, you will need full-fat canned coconut milk. This will provide maximum creaminess and richness to the pudding.
- Instead of using refined sugar in the pudding, I recommend using honey as a natural sweetener. It will add a delicious flavor to the pudding without the harmful effects of processed sugar.
- Egg yolks are another essential ingredient, as they provide both richness and structure to the pudding. Don't throw away the whites, though - you can use them in omelets or even make my raspberry souffle.
- To thicken the pudding as it cools, we will be using arrowroot powder. It's a great alternative to cornstarch and will help give the pudding its signature texture.
- Lastly, don't forget the vanilla extract. To get the most rich and potent vanilla flavor in the pudding, be sure to use pure vanilla extract. It will add a delicious depth of flavor to the dessert.
With these ingredients on hand, you will be able to whip up a delicious and satisfying pudding that's sure to become a new favorite in your household. Enjoy!
How to Make Banana Pudding
If you are looking to get the most out of your banana pudding and really infuse it with delicious banana flavor, I recommend starting the day before you plan to serve it. Here's how to do it:
- First, you will want to infuse the coconut milk with banana flavor. Start by heating the milk in a pot until it reaches a simmer.
- Then, remove it from the heat and add sliced bananas to the milk.
- Let it sit for at least 4 hours, but for best results, let it sit for up to 24 hours to really infuse the milk with banana goodness.
- Once the coconut milk is infused, it's time to cook the pudding.
- Strain the sliced bananas from the milk and add the remaining ingredients - the arrowroot powder, honey, egg yolks, and pure vanilla extract.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken. This should take around 10-15 minutes. Once the pudding has thickened, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.
- After the pudding has cooled, it's time to assemble it. I love to serve individual portions of the pudding in small glass cups.
- To take it up a notch, top the pudding with a dollop of coconut whipped cream, sliced bananas, and toasted coconut flakes.
- And if you really want to go all out, drizzle some of my salted caramel sauce over the top.
A Few Important Tips
- When it comes to thickening agents for the banana pudding, there's a difference between using arrowroot powder or tapioca powder instead of cornstarch. It's important to keep the heat low when simmering the pudding regardless of which one you choose.
- If you opt for arrowroot powder, keep in mind that it won't get quite as thick or hold as firm a shape as cornstarch. Instead, it will give your pudding a thick and smoothie-like consistency that's still creamy and delicious.
- On the other hand, if you choose tapioca flour, you will get a slightly thicker pudding. However, it's crucial that you don't boil or overcook the pudding as it can turn out gummy and stretchy. Once you notice that the pudding is beginning to thicken, take it off the heat immediately to avoid overcooking.
- Once your pudding is made, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. However, it's best to enjoy it fresh for maximum flavor and texture.
Can You Make Banana Pudding Without Eggs?
When it comes to making banana pudding, you have a couple of options if you want to avoid using egg yolks. The first option is to simply skip the eggs altogether. However, keep in mind that this will result in a more pale pudding color and a less creamy texture compared to using eggs. The second option is to use chia seeds as a substitute for egg yolks. Chia seeds are a great alternative because they can help thicken the pudding and add a rich, creamy texture without the need for eggs.
In fact, chia seeds are a popular ingredient for making all kinds of puddings, including chocolate chia pudding.
FRESH BANANA PUDDING
- coconut flakes, unsweetened, toasted
- coconut whipped cream
INFUSE THE COCONUT MILK
- Pour coconut milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.
- Heat the coconut milk over medium heat, whisking often, until it simmers. Take care not to let the milk boil.
- While the coconut milk is heating, peel and slice 3 bananas into ½-inch thick rounds. Set aside.
- Once the coconut milk is steaming, remove the saucepan from the heat, add the sliced bananas, and stir with a spatula to coat them with the coconut milk.
- Cover the saucepan and let it sit at room temperature for 4 hours to infuse the milk with banana flavor.
- To finish the pudding now, proceed to the next step. For a more intense banana flavor, transfer the banana and milk mixture to a glass bowl or dish, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours
MAKE THE PUDDING
- Remove the banana pieces from the milk using a slotted spoon or skimmer. You will not need the strained banana pieces for the rest of this recipe but you can save them for smoothies or other baking recipes.
- Pour ½ cup of the infused banana milk into a mixing bowl, then add the honey, egg yolks, salt, and arrowroot powder. Whisk together.
- In a medium saucepan, reheat the remaining milk over medium heat, stirring gently until simmering.
- Very slowly (just a few tablespoons at a time) drizzle about half of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking rapidly to keep the milk from curdling the eggs.
- Return the saucepan to the stovetop, pour the tempered egg mixture into to saucepan, and warm over low heat, stirring constantly until the pudding mixture simmers and thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure the pudding mixture does not boil or over-thicken.
- Remove the hot pudding from the heat, and stir in the remaining one teaspoon of vanilla.
- Pour the pudding through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, to remove any clumps from the pudding.
- Cool slightly, then cover by pressing a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. This is optional, but it helps to prevent a skin from forming on the pudding.
- Chill the pudding in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, or until it's firmed up slightly.
- To serve, top the banana pudding with sliced bananas, coconut whipped cream, and toasted coconut flakes.
- This recipe makes approximately 2 ½ cups of banana pudding.
- If your grocery store is stocked with greenish bananas, pick them up a few days before you want to make the banana pudding. Let them ripen on the counter or place them in a paper bag to speed up the process.
- Feel free to use your favorite nut milk in place of the coconut milk. But know that it might not be as thick or creamy as using full-fat coconut milk.
- Use the leftover coconut milk in your favorite smoothie!