Vanilla Custard with Bananas & Vanilla Wafers

This recipe is adapted from an Alton Brown’s Refrigerated Banana Pudding recipe. This version reduces unnecessary fat and sugar.


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 eggs (optional – I’ve made with and without – both are good)
  • 1 tablespoons butter (optional but adds a touch of richness and gloss)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Approximately 45 vanilla wafers (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (2 large or 3 small bananas)
  • 1 cup whipping cream, very cold


  1. Using a whisk, combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat on stovetop.
  2. Allow milk to scald (heat to the point when tiny bubbles form around edges of pan). Whisk occasionally.
  3. Remove milk mixture from heat.
  4. Temper the eggs by adding about 2 tablespoons of the hot milk into eggs. Whisk it all together and then add the eggs into the hot pan, stirring constantly.
  5. Return the pan to heat and whisk gently until custard thickens, another two or three minutes. Do not boil.
  6. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.
  7. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl for cooling.
  8. Cover the surface of the custard with a round piece of parchment and refrigerate until the pudding reaches 45 degrees F, approximately 2 hours.
  9. When the pudding is cool, remove the parchment and whisk or beat with a blender to cream it up. Sometimes I add a bit of milk if it seems too thick.
  10. Spread a small amount of pudding in the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart glass mixing bowl. Cover with a layer of vanilla wafers, followed by a layer of banana slices. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining pudding on top of the bananas and repeat, ending with a layer of pudding.
  11. Put the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk just until stiff peaks form.
  12. Spoon the whipped cream over the cooled pudding and spread to cover completely. Top with any remaining cookies.
  13. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.