It has been about six months since I went on my fabulous foodie trip to New York City with my fiancé and best friends, and yet no matter how much time has passed, I am still dreaming about Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding. I keep seeing photos of this luscious pudding when I scroll down instagram, and it keeps triggering cravings I didn’t know I could have. It seems that now it’s not easily accessible, I want it more now than ever.
So ultimately I decided to try and recreate it, like I do with every food item I seriously crave and can’t get my hands on. I figured that they used a base pudding, similar to crème diplomat, or pastry cream lightened with whipped cream, fresh banana slices were definitely present, and easily accessible. All that was left was the cookie base. After a little research, I found out that the cookie the bakery uses, is a light and airy cookie called “Nilla Wafers”. They’re super popular in the US, and often used for pie crusts and puddings, so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find.
I went over to my local grocery stores, and couldn’t find them anywhere. So I decided to try to create a cookie that would be similar enough to replace the Nilla Wafers. I did more research and concluded that my cookies should be firm, crisp, tender, sweet, and full of vanilla flavour. I decided to create a cookie similar to a sugar cookie but with less chew and more of a short gluten strand texture, similar to a shortbread cookie.
I found that these cookies were really crisp when initially added, creating a great level of texture. Over a few hours, the cookies become slightly more chewy and soft after absorbing the moisture in the pudding, which I actually prefer over the crisp cookies, so I would definitely recommend waiting a little while after assembling to let all the flavours meld together.
Here is the recipe and the video tutorial below.
Copycat Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding
This recipe makes about 8 cups of banana pudding.
For the pastry cream (custard)
120g (2/3 cup) sugar
22g (3 tbsp) cornstarch
18g (3 tbsp) flour
6 egg yolks
600g (2 1/2 cups) milk
10g (2 tsp) vanilla extract
30g (2 tbsp) butter
450g (2 cups) heavy 35% cream, for whipping
For the “Nilla Wafers”
113g (1/2 cup) soft butter
200g (1 cup) sugar
5g (1 tsp) vanilla extract
5g (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste
173g (1-1/3 cup) flour
5g (1 tsp) baking powder
2g (1/2 tsp) salt
For the Pudding Base
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Add the egg yolks, and whisk until fully combined and pale and fluffy.
- Add the milk and vanilla extract in a medium/large saucepan.
- Place the pot over medium heat, bringing the milk to a simmer, light boil. Once it starts boiling, take off heat, pour or ladle milk into the egg mixture, whisking simultaneously in order to temper (slowly bring the temperature of the egg up, without cooking it) the eggs.
- Once 2/3 of the milk is adding and whisked into the egg mixture, pour it back into the saucepan, and place back on medium heat, constantly mixing, until the custard boils and becomes thick, about 2 min.
- Take off heat, add the butter, and stir to combine. Pour into a shallow, heatproof dish, and place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming as it cools.
For the Wafers
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C, and line two
- In a medium mixing bowl, or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment fitted, beat the soft butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, and egg, and continue to whip until pale and fluffy, similar in texture and colour as buttercream.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in halves, until fully combined.
- Scoop and spoon the batter onto the lined tray, in teaspoons, leaving 1 inch of space between each cookie.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
- Let cool completely before adding to the pudding.
To assemble the pudding, I used about 2 large ripe bananas, thinly sliced.