Every summer someone in my family was making banana pudding pie. At least once each month from June to August, it was a summer staple and perfect for the hot days playing outside and celebrating the warm season.
My grandmother always told me there’s only two things you MUST do when making nanner pudding pie; be patient and think presentation. Something she said those in the north don’t get about those in the south.
Down here we’re not in a hurry all the time. We slow down and take our time to do things right. Patience and Presentation are everything to a good Southern Banana Pudding pie.
That starts with the right serving dish. It must be a glass rectangular dish. Typically a Pyrex dish like the one pictured here. It’s not a big deep dish bowl, or a round pie dish or even a small individual serving dessert glass. Bigger or more doesn’t make it better.
If you want to make real “Southern Banana Pie”, it means a dish deep enough for a Nilla wafer to stand up on the side. That’s One wafer, not two rows of wafers. A deep banana pie means you’re serving too much to a guest or jipping them out of a complete delicious serving from top to bottom. Be reserved and think presentation. How it looks is as important in the dish as on the plate.
My grandma was big on baking and making things at home. But as modern times evolved, she did give up some of the work to bake from scratch in favor of a box. In this case, Jello-brand Vanilla Pudding mix and a container of Whip-Cream. If you want to bake the pudding from scratch, I’ll add that recipe at a later date. But for now, go to the store and get a large box of Jello Vanilla instant pudding mix.
- 1 5.1 oz box Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
- 1 box Nilla Wafers
- 1 container Whip Cream
- 2 to 3 Yellow Bananas
Choosing Your Dish:
You’ll need a rectangular Pyrex baking dish. These dishes come in quart sizes. The more pudding you want to make, determines the size of the dish of course.
- 4qt = 15-inch x 10-inch x 2-inch
- 3qt = 13-inch x 9-inch x 2-inch
- 2qt = 12.8-inch x 7.6-inch x 2-inch
A 3qt dish is usually large enough for this recipe. If you don’t want to make that much pudding pie; change the box of putting to a 3.4oz size. And the number of bananas to use depends on your taste. The directions below use 2 bananas, but if you want to cut a 3rd banana and mix into the pudding before you spoon it into the dish you can do that too.
- Line the bottom of the glass dish with wafers, flat side down.
Peel one banana and cut off the pointed end. My grand mother always let me eat that bit. Slice the banana into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Place 1 piece of banana on top of each wafer.
- Line the sides of the dish with wafers, flat side in.
The rounded part of the wafer should be what you see when you look through the glass. Placing the bananas on top of the wafers that line the bottom of the dish first, will help the wafers you want on the sides stand up.
Note: Maw always said never leave a gap on the bottom or the sides. But don’t cut a wafer to fit in a space, simply overlap the wafer as needed with its neighbor.
- Make the pudding as directed on the box.
Note: Maw said if you want a more tasty pudding, use Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk instead of regular milk. It really does make a difference, but it’s also loaded with sugar.
- If you want to add more banana to the pudding, you can cut the 3rd banana into cubes and mix it into the filling at this point. If you’re only using 2 bananas, skip this part.
- Carefully spoon half the pudding onto the banana and wafers in the dish. Being careful not to get too much pudding between the glass and the wafers on the side. The pudding should push the wafers against the glass and fill in the gap around them. Set the remainder of the pudding aside.
- Place about 15 to 20 wafers in a bowl and crush them up. They should be some what chunky, mixed with some powdered. Take this and sprinkle it on top of the pudding. You’re making a layer of wafers across the whole thing, so you want enough crushed up to cover the whole dish. Maw liked to make this as a thin layer; Mom and I like it as a thick layer. It’s really your choice.
- Line the banana slices you set aside earlier, on top of the sprinkled wafer layer.
Note: Maw made this two ways. If we had company coming, she only used the same number of slices on the top as she did on the bottom. If the pudding was for family or snacking, she would cover the entire top of the pudding; which meant cutting more slices.
- Cover the top with the rest of the pudding you had saved from the previous step.
- Top the whole thing with whip cream.
- Finally place a row of wafers on top, rounded side up
- Cover the dish and refrigerate for about 1 to 2 hours.
Note: Maw would cover the dish with aluminum foil to make sure the covering wouldn’t rest on top of the whip cream.
Serve cold on a small dessert plate. Maw said you never use a bowl. I don’t know why, but she always said it; so I always do it. It looks better on a plate anyway.