When it comes to dessert, fruit cobbler, buttermilk pie and hummingbird cake are southern staples. But, there is one dessert that is quintessentially southern….Banana Pudding.
Based on the history of the banana dessert, there is really no rhyme or reason why it is considered southern. According to one southern-based blog, one of the first printed recipes for banana pudding can be traced back to an 1888 issue of Good Housekeeping. The original recipe consisted of chilled custard, sponge cake and bananas.
As time went on, the recipe evolved and in the 1920’s the iconic recipe using Nilla Wafers was born. But, there is still no clear reason why the dessert is considered southern. One of the most reasonable explanations tying banana pudding to the south is that the dessert is typically no-bake, meaning that in the heat of the summer it can be prepared without an oven that would force unnecessary heat into an already hot kitchen.
While we would all most likely agree that banana pudding is a timeless, iconic dessert, we may also agree that banana pudding is versatile and allows for tweaks based on the cook’s taste. For instance, some prefer to serve the pudding warm and others like it chilled. Some like it topped with torched meringue, others enjoy it with sweetened whipped cream. Thankfully, there is no wrong way to make banana pudding.
Celebrity southern chef Paula Deen recently took to social media to prepare her signature banana pudding. Deen has been sharing some of her most popular recipes from her home kitchen in recent weeks, and claims that her banana pudding recipe is the most popular of any she has ever published.
Paula puts her own twist on the classic by swapping out Nilla Wafers for chessmen cookies and adding a block of cream cheese to the filling. The result is a delightfully simple and delicious banana pudding recipe that you’ll be making over and over again.
Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding
from Paula Deen
- 1 (12-oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
- 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups milk
- 1 (5-oz) box instant French vanilla pudding mix
- 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
- 2 bags chessmen cookies
Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.