Few things are as sweetly Southern as a beloved banana pudding recipe, which is what we’re excited to share with you today. David Sampson, Executive Pastry Chef at Savannah’s ultra-chic Perry Lane Hotel, may hail from Buffalo, New York, but it was the song of the South that led him to where he could marry his confectionery skills with solid Southern dishes.
This is definitely not your grandmother’s simple banana pudding recipe, as this one is likely more complicated —but it is absolutely worth the challenge for those who love an elevated twist on a classic; your tastebuds will thank you as will everyone who is lucky enough to try this. There is a reason this dessert is so beloved at the Perry Lane Hotel.
“Banana pudding is universally loved. What has made this dish so iconic could be the custard, it could be the cream, or it could just be the culture — Savannah, a place of warmth,” David shares. “Even with a simple dessert such as this, you will often hear different perspectives as to what makes it truly great. For us, it is the delectable combination of the carefully designed custard, the sweet and saltiness of the cream, the crunch of the wafer, the caramelized bananas, the remaining caramel drizzled over the top, and of course, the comfort and community that it instills with every bite.”
Let’s get to the good stuff. Here, Chef David Sampson’s banana pudding recipe, which you’ll find on the menu at Peregrin, one of the dining options at Perry Lane Hotel. Go ahead and try this out at home to get comfortable with the multiple steps. But, then plan to add this to your holiday menus from Easter to New Years and everything in between. This is one of those recipes that once mastered, could just be your signature dessert.
Chef David Sampson's Banana Pudding
- 1 quart milk
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 lb all-purpose flour
- 5 oz powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 lb cold butter diced
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 banana chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- Heat milk and scraped vanilla bean in a 2-qt pot over medium-high heat till scalding. Stir together sugar and cornstarch till well combined and no lumps, add eggs and mix thoroughly. Temper milk with egg mixture and pour all contents back into the pot over medium heat. Stirring constantly with a stiff whisk, the mixture will thicken right when it's about to boil. When cream boils, turn heat to low. Whisk for 2 minutes while cooking the pastry cream. Strain the pastry cream and place plastic wrap over the surface while it cools. Place in cooler or refrigerator.
- Place all ingredients in a mixer with a paddle attachment. (Plastic wrap can be used to keep flour from spraying.) Mix on first speed till dough comes together. Remove from bowl and mix by hand till homogenous. Roll out dough on floured surface till 1/4-inch thick. Punch out with a round cutter and place on baking trays. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or till golden brown all-around. Let cool.
- Bring cream to a scalding point and set aside. Either with wet method or dry method (i.e. with or without water), bring the sugar to a caramel in a tall-sided pot. (It should smoke slightly while swirling the pot carefully.) Add chopped bananas and coat with the caramel off the heat. Add the cream a little at a time (caramel will foam up each time). Once all the cream is added, be sure all the caramel is dissolved; place back over heat as needed. Puree the caramel in a blender till smooth, strain, and cool. Store in the cooler or refrigerator.
- To assemble, stir up the cold pastry cream till smooth, and add small chopped bananas. Make a whipped cream with heavy cream, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, and whip till medium peaks form (here's an easy recipe). In your serving dish, add banana caramel to the bottom, and crush shortbread over top of the caramel. Dollop the pastry cream on top of the shortbread and spread till it fills the dish 3/4 full. Drizzle caramel over top the pastry cream, crush a little more shortbread and then add the whipped cream by either piping or dolloping over top. Finish by drizzling more caramel and a put half a shortbread cookie into the cream. Enjoy!
And since we’re talking banana pudding, you may also want to check out this banana pudding pie recipe. SO good!!
Find even more amazing Southern-inspired recipes in our recipe archives HERE.