This makes a giant pudding great for a BBQ party or family reunion. Depending on appetites, this pudding will serve 30-40 people. If it is being prepared in one location and served in another, it's best to garnish the pudding on site.
Total Time: 20 minutes Active Time: 45 Minutes Hands On plus chilling time Number Serves: 30-40 Equipment: Large Saucepan, Drying Racks, Stand Mixer, Large Shallow Bowl or Trifle Dish
1 cup fresh lemon juice
12 cups whole milk
4 cups sugar (divided)
2 teaspoons salt
2 vanilla beans
8 egg yolks
½ cup corn starch
8 Tablespoons chilled butter cut into bits
2 Boxes Nilla Vanilla Wafers
3 cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
Slice bananas about ½” thick. Dip banana slices in lemon juice and move to a rack to dry.
Heat milk in large saucepan with 3 cups of sugar and the salt. Split and scrape the vanilla beans. Add the vanilla seeds and vanilla bean husks to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine. Bring milk mixture to a low simmer.
In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, add eggs and egg yolks, remaining 1 cup of sugar and corn starch. Beat this mixture well, until pale yellow and doubled in volume.
Remove and discard vanilla bean husks from milk mixture. Carefully transfer about 2 cups of the hot milk to the egg mixture and carefully mix at medium/low speed. Transfer the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan with the milk and whisk vigorously to combine.
Whisk and cook the pudding over medium/high heat until significantly thickened. This can take up to 25 minutes, do not rush this process. This is not crème anglaise that is cooked once it coats a wooden spoon. The pudding needs to be cooked long enough to bloom the corn starch or it will remain too liquid, even when cold. Be diligent about scraping the bottom of the pan and into the corners as the pudding cooks or it will scorch. Once the pudding has achieved thick consistency, pour it through a strainer, pressing with a rubber spatula, to remove any bits of coagulated egg. Whisk in the butter bits until thoroughly combined and set pudding aside.
Reserve a few banana slices for garnish (or if they are available, purchase a bunch of “baby bananas” to use as garnish – treat with lemon juice before using). Ladle about 2 cups of the pudding into a wide shallow bowl or trifle bowl. Place a layer of vanilla wafers onto the custard. Place a banana slice onto each wafer. Gently spoon a layer of pudding over the banana slices. Repeat until bowl is full. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Prepare whipped cream no more than 2 hours before service. Whip cream until slightly increased in volume. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. If not using immediately, place the cream (in its mixing bowl with the whisk) into the fridge and cover with plastic wrap. Beat a few strokes before using.
Spoon whipped cream into piping bag with decorating tip and garnish as desired, using the reserved banana slices.