Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

Skip the cupcakes - all one needs from New York City's famous Magnolia Bakery is their best kept secret: Banana Pudding.

Well, maybe it's not exactly a secret. Magnolia's Banana Pudding came in at #3 in Buzzfeed's “18 Foods Everyone Must Try Before Leaving NYC” - quite the list to conquer. But the people at Magnolia are angels from heaven and published the recipe in their cookbook so that non-NYC dwellers can have their pudding and eat it, too. Also, it tastes so similar the original that it transports me back to New York with every bite.

I remember how my relationship with this Banana Pudding began and I probably always will. I sound completely crazy, but to me, this pudding was one of those life happenings where all the details stick with you forever - like where you were, when, who was with you, what you were doing. I was at the Magnolia Bakery by Rockefeller Center, it was Christmas 2010, we were with our friends Millie and Ty, and we had just finished attempting to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree up close (along with the rest of the city). 

We make our way down 49th Street towards the bakery for some fuel; fighting the crowd is exhausting. The line is long, and once we're finally inside, I beeline it directly to the cupcakes. I'm desperate to see what limited flavor options I'd be forced to chose between, as throngs of tourists and residents alike were all being shuffled in and quickly out of the store. I breeze right by an employee handing out samples of Banana Pudding.

"I don't really like Banana Pudding," I said. I can't even believe the words came out of my mouth. Millie takes a sample, raves about it, and asks for another. Seriously, another sample...? Could Banana Pudding be that good? 

After one spoonful, my question was answered. Yes! Yes it can! Give me more now. These cupcakes are dead to me.

It boggles me that I can still picture this event so clearly in my head, yet I can't seem to remember to give my dog his heartworm pills on the right day.

I had the pudding in the city countless times since that initial meeting by using visitors as a cheap ploy to satisfy my own cravings (you're going to love this place!) or frequently requesting Brian bring home a "treat" after work (pretty please? it's across the street from your office...). I've had the pleasure of recreating it for family and friends many times in Virginia. With every bite, this special dessert always transports me back to Christmastime in New York.

Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding: Proof that food feeds the soul as much as it feeds the body.

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

  • 16 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • Small box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Box Nilla Wafers
  • 4 sliced bananas

1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat sweetened condensed milk and water for about a minute. Add the pudding mix and beat for about two more minutes. Transfer to a smaller bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. You want the mixture to be extremely firm.

2. In a large bowl on medium speed, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form (I put my metal mixing bowl and whisk mixer attachment in the freezer for five minutes prior...the cream always whips up very quickly this way). Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pudding mixture until fully combined and no streaks of pudding are visible.

3. In a large bowl or trifle stand, layer wafers, bananas, and pudding. Ideally, you want three layers but if you go with a larger baking dish you might only have two. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4-8 hours before serving.

I've found it best to make the pudding/milk/water mix the evening before you plan to serve the pudding, allowing to refrigerate overnight. Perform steps #2 and 3 the following morning and allow the layered pudding to refrigerate for at least four hours. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more soft and spongy the wafers become; just like they are at the bakery.


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