Banana Pudding (Nanner Puddin, as my cousin Tommy calls it) is one of my very favorite summertime treats. The thing about this southern specialty is that it can be ridiculously high in calories! Some recipes I’ve looked at run in the neighborhood of 600 or more calories per serving!
But my version is sweet, silky, refreshingly cool, and at just around 230 calories, it’s a fairly painless splurge!
Here’s all you really need to make Nanner Puddin- so simple, yet so satisfying! : )
One of the tricks I’ve learned that makes my version taste more like higher calorie versions is adding the caviar of a vanilla bean to the pudding.
Nothing I’ve found adds quite the richness and depth of flavor like this does! In absence of this, use a really good pure vanilla extract- I make my own with vanilla beans and a good quality Bourbon; it’s much cheaper and definitely better than the store bought stuff.
So, to get started, I take a vanilla bean, and scrape the caviar (seeds) out. Don’t be intimidated- it’s really pretty easy and you’ll love the flavor and how it fragrances your kitchen! Just keep reading and I’ll show you how.
*As always, I don’t receive compensation to recommend or favorably review any product. I just share the things that are working for me so you can enjoy them too. : ) You can see my policy on this here.
First, cut the ends of the beans off, then run the tip of a sharp knife along the bean, lengthwise, trying to only cut through the top layer of the bean.
See the tiny little dark brown specks on my fingertip? Those are the seeds!! That’s what you see in good quality ice cream and other products that contain real vanilla caviar. For more pics of the process, click here.
Now, don’t throw the rest of the bean away!!! Cut it into sections like this, and throw them into a mason jar, along with some good Bourbon or Vodka, and some whole beans, prepared as instructed here; in about 8 weeks or so, you’ll have made your very own pure vanilla extract. How cool is that?! I just keep adding the beans as I use them, which only intensifies the extract. I make all kinds of extracts- mint, lime, coffee, etc., but that’s another post. : )
So, now just follow the directions below for how to make and assemble your Nanner Puddin!
I like to make individual servings- not that I’d ever think of eating an entire recipe, and therefore would need portion control… ; ) A mason jar with a lid makes it so easy to make them ahead and they make a pretty presentation.
So, grab a spoon, a jar of goodness, and ENJOY!!
Silky and sweet, cool and refreshing; banana pudding is one of my very favorite summertime treats.
Cut the ends off the vanilla bean. Score the bean lengthwise with a sharp knife, trying to cut through the top layer only. Open the bean along the split at one end, then place the dull side of a knife or spoon at the end, and carefully scrape toward the other end, gathering the caviar onto the utensil. (See above pics.) Place the caviar in the bowl, preferably metal or glass, that you'll use to make the pudding.
Add the Jell-o mix, and the soy milk (or milk) to the bowl, then whisk to combine. Place the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes until the pudding firms up.
Note: I sometimes use the soy milk due to a milk allergy in the family, and I love that it has fewer calories, even than skim milk. However, when I use it, the pudding doesn't firm up quite as quickly, or as much, as when I use dairy milk. The soy mixture can actually be a bit soupy when I assemble the dish, but once it's allowed to set up in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, it sets up just fine.
While the pudding is chilling, count out the Nilla Wafers. If making one big casserole, I usually leave the cookies whole, but when I'm making individual servings I like to break them up a bit. I just use a sharp knife and roughly chop them into four pieces each, which allows me to spread them out a bit more evenly.
Cut the bananas as you like. Sometimes I slice them fairly thin, which allows me to spread them out a bit; other times I slice them thick and quarter them, for a more chunky texture.
Once the pudding has set, take it from the fridge and carefully fold the cool whip in. Set aside for a few minutes.
Arrange one third of the cookies in the serving dish. When making individual servings, I place a very small amount of pudding in the bottom of the dish to keep the cookie pieces spread out and in place, but when making a large casserole, I just arrange one third of the cookies evenly over the bottom.
Arrange one third of the banana pieces over the cookies.
Spoon one third of the pudding over the bananas and cookies, and gently spread evenly.
Repeat two more times, using up all of the cookies, bananas, and pudding,
If you like, you can crush up a few extra Nilla Wafers to spread over the top as garnish. I use my meat pounding mallet or food processor. The mallet is a fabulous tension reliever if you've had that kind of a day! ; )
Now I know how tempting it is to dive right in, but if you can stand it, put your masterpiece in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, which will allow it to set more firmly, and gives the cookies a chance to soften up just a bit. Whenever you just can't stand it for one more minute, grab a spoon and go for it!