It doesn’t get more Southern than banana pudding.
The old-school way of going about it involves any or all of the following: pudding – usually instant, boxed Nilla wafers, maybe some sweetened condensed milk, fresh banana slices, and either a meringue or whipped cream topping. It all gets layered together in some sort of a casserole or bowl, where the cookies become soft and as they melt their way into the pudding.
If you didn’t know all of that, you’d probably think the term “banana pudding” refers to … a banana-flavored pudding, right?
I totally dig this kind of thing – for one, that the name of the recipe seems straightforward, but it’s not, and then the fact that it’s timeless and classic, the type of recipe that gets passed down from generation to generation. However, I’m not so into boxed pudding and cookies and the like – hi, have we met? And so I set off to create my own spin on this traditional Southern specialty.
My first requirement was fresh berries. I love the combination of banana and both blueberries and blackberries, and I liked the idea of a twist on berries ‘n cream. To me, banana pudding should be a light, refreshing dessert. If I want something rich and heavy, I’m going for chocolate or an all-butter pastry type of a deal.
Also – who wants something heavy after fried chicken? A meal like that requires something on the lighter side, for sure.
The next order of business – and the most important one – was the bananas. This is banana pudding, after all! I knew I wanted their flavor to shine, so I immediately knew I’d be roasting. I thought about roasting bananas for the first time when I made this banana bread (also with blackberries … I told you I’m into this combo) but I didn’t, because I had some old ones to use. This was the perfect opportunity to try it! You already know how I feel about roasting – it brings out the best of pretty much all vegetables, and apparently now fruits – so this was an obviously easy decision.