Regular banana pudding falls a bit flat for me. The secret? Roasted banana pudding!
Roasting the bananas brings out their sweetness, and then you can blend the roasted puree right into the pudding as well as layering sliced fresh banana into the mix.
The dulce de leche is a nice touch, too, bringing a bit deeper flavor and caramel notes to what can often be a somewhat too sweet and often bland, not-banana-y-enough dessert. Sorry, fellow Southerners.
Oh, and if you think your banana pudding can be made better by using Lorna Doone cookies, you’re 100% correct.
For ease of browsing, here are all my pudding and custard recipes in one place. Thanks for visiting, friends!
Baking for Friends
I got a text from Neighbor Thomas last week.
“Do you make banana pudding? Have someone with a birthday next week if you’re interested.”
To which I responded, “I haven’t, but I could!”
I don’t really like bananas all that much, although I could be persuaded to change my tune after that daiquiri, but I never say no to Neighbor Thomas.
When he asks for dessert, I really get to play, like when I made cookie butter cheesecake for him.
Why Make This Banana Pudding?
For lovers of non-traditional traditional desserts, this pudding is for you.
You get tons of banana flavor, because there’s roasted banana in the actual pudding as well as sliced bananas layered in.
The dulce de leche in the pudding also brings in deep, rich caramel notes that really complement the banana flavor.
And although I have nothing against vanilla wafers, rich and buttery Lorna Doones are a step or two up from those guys.
Roasted Banana Pudding: The Components
Once I had the dulce de leche, my next thought was to roast some bananas and put them in my custard, because I don’t understand using vanilla pudding to make banana pudding.
Why not layer in as much banana flavor as you can? Really commit to the banana pudding.
The resulting flavor of the pudding was lovely–sweetly banana-y and dulce-ish. Really good.
The next consideration was the cookies.
Cookies are a vital part of the whole structure of banana pudding. They’re there for textural contrast, although most folks like them to soften up in the pudding somewhat.
After long and serious consideration, and after I realized that I did not want to purchase vanilla wafers as I had a whole crate of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies here, I decided to throw caution to the wind and deviate even further from the standard by losing the Nillas and going with shortbread.
It was a great call. Highly recommend!
This dessert is made with four main components:
- banana custard
- dulce de leche topping
- Lorna Doone cookies.
- sliced bananas
Here are all the ingredients you’ll need. Some you will use in two different components.
I will list substitutions where I can:
- Bananas: You’ll need a couple for the puree and then more freshly sliced bananas for layering
- Milk: I use whole milk. You can substitute 2% or make it rich and go with half and half. You can also use a plant-based milk as long as it is okay to boil it.
- Egg yolks: For richness in the custard. It calls for four. You can get away with fewer if you increase the cornstarch by maybe 2 teaspoons for each yolk you leave out
- Cornstarch: To thicken the custard. You can also use regular all-purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand
- Sugar: For sweetness in the custard
- Dulce de Leche: Dulce appears in both the custard and the topping for flavor, sweetness, and body.
- Salt: Brings all the flavors into focus so the dessert really shines. Without salt, the flavors would all fall flat.
- Vanilla: Rounds out the flavors
- Cream cheese: For body and a little tang in the topping. It makes it pipeable so that it holds its shape for a long time
- Heavy cream: In the topping, for body, to carry flavor, and “whippability.”
- Lorna Doone cookies: You may use vanilla wafters, Chessmen, or some other buttery, vanilla-flavored cookies
More Old-Fashioned Desserts You Might Enjoy
If you’re a fan of pudding and custards and other old fashioned desserts, consider these options, friends:
- Old-School Butterscotch Pudding Super-comforting and head and shoulders better than boxed, trust me!
- Lazy Peach Sonker A peach cobbler made spiced peaches and batter
- Shoo Fly Pie: An old-fashioned, molasses-based pie recipe
High Praise for This Roasted Banana Pudding
This is the text I received from Thomas on Wednesday morning:
Roasted Banana Pudding Q & A
As written, the only gluten-containing ingredient is the cookies, so feel free to substitute gluten-free vanilla wafers or gluten-free cookie of your choice and you’ll be good to go.
Store in the fridge and enjoy within five days.
No. It will get weepy and soggy upon thawing.
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
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Dulce de Leche Roasted Banana Pudding
For the Roasted Bananas
- 2 large bananas
For the Custard
- Roasted banana puree
- 32 oz whole milk 4 cups
- 4 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup corn starch
- 5 oz granulated sugar about 2/3 cup
- ½ cup dulce de leche (the thicker and darker, the more flavor)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
For the Dulce de Leche Topping
- 6 oz 3/4 block softened cream cheese
- 6 oz dulce de leche (the thicker and darker, the more flavor)
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar (or as sweet as you like)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (you want this part to be fairly assertively salted)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 8 oz heavy cream or whipping cream
- A lot of cookies of your choice: vanilla wafers Lorna Doones, Chessmen, etc
- Banans as perfectly ripe as possible
To Roast the Bananas
- Remove the labels from the bananas but leave the skins on.
- Place the bananas on a lined baking sheet and bake them at 350F for about 30 minutes. They will swell a bit and turn very dark brown all over.
- Let them cool, then slit the skins and remove the sweet, roasted insides.
- Puree the bananas and then press through a medium strainer. (For the smoothest pudding, please don't skip this step. If you're okay with chunkier pudding, then carry on without straining the bananas.)
For the Custard
- Place the milk, yolks, cornstarch, sugar, dulce de leche, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan.
- Put the banana puree and vanilla in a bowl large enough to hold the custard. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl and set aside convenient to the stove.
- Heat the custard over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly, until it comes just to a boil.
- Keep at a low boil, whisking the whole time, for 2 minutes. The mixture will be quite thick.
- Press the custard through the strainer and stir well to incorporate the roasted banana puree and the vanilla. Don;t forget to scrape the pudding off the bottom of the strainer–you don't want to leave any of that goodness behind!
- Set the pudding aside to cool down a bit.
For the Topping
- In your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Add the dulce de leche and whip until creamy and well incorporated, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla, and beat another minute more.
- Pour in 1/4 (about 2 ounces) of the whipping cream and beat for a few seconds until incorporated and thick.
- Add another fourth of the cream and whip again.
- Add the rest in two more additions, whipping for 20-30 seconds with each addition and scraping the bowl as necessary. The mixture should be thick and hold its shape.
It is entirely up to you how you layer in all of your ingredients, but here's how I made mine:
- Spread a very thin layer of pudding in the bottom of the serving dish–using about 1/4-1/3 cup of pudding. Just enough to keep the cookies from sliding.
- Add a layer of cookies, placing them close together.
- Spread about 1 cup of custard over the cookies and top with a layer of sliced bananas.
- Spread another cup of custard evenly over the bananas and top with another layer of cookies.
- Spread another cup of custard evenly over the cookies and top with another layer of bananas.
- Spread the last of the custard (there won't be much left) in a thin layer over the bananas. Top with another layer of cookies.
- Spread or decoratively pipe the dulce de leche topping over the cookies.
- Chill for at least four hours or overnight, depending on how much texture you want your cookies to have. They'll get softer the longer they sit.
Did You Make Any Changes?
YIELDMakes a 7" x 11" pan of banana pudding. You can also make individual puddings in small glasses. For a super fancy presentation, you can build your pudding in a medium trifle bowl.
- Add some cinnamon either to the pudding, the dulce de leche topping, or both. Consider using cinnamon Graham crackers as your cookies.
- Use chocolate wafer cookies for a chocolate twist. I mean, it's already non-traditional, so why not go all-in? In that case, maybe drizzle on some homemade chocolate syrup before serving.
STORAGEChill for at least 4 hours before serving. Keep, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. Do not freeze.
I do hope you give this pudding a try. The dulce de leche adds a subtle yet complex caramel note that is really rather sophisticated and plays really nicely with the bananas.
Thanks for spending some time here with me today. Have a great day.
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