In a previous dispatch from the NYC food field, I blogged about the unbelievable deliciousness that is Sylvia’s banana pudding. Well, thanks be to God and the Internet, because I was able to locate what purports to be the recipe of Sylvia herself with minimal reconnaissance work. Upon discovering said recipe, I got myself to the store as soon as I could to gather the ingredients. Given the proximity to February 14, I decided to make this a homemade sort of holiday and whipped up a Valentine’s batch of Sylvia’s banana pudding for my Puddin’. (Awww.)
To my great delight, I was able to replicate, more or less, the delectable dessert we devoured in Harlem. Since this restaurant re-creation recipe is not as readily apparent as the first, I give you my edit of the recipe I found online for Sylvia's Banana Pudding:
2 cups milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup sugar
½ tsp yellow food coloring*
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cornstarch
½ cup water
2 large egg yolks, beaten, room temperature
4 large ripe bananas
½ box Nilla Wafers
*(optional – and, might I add, NOT recommended unless you like neon food)
- Combine milk, butter, sugar, and vanilla (and food coloring, if using) in a heavy saucepan. Stir occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and milk is simmering.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir cornstarch paste into the milk mixture and summer, stirring constantly, until thickened.
- Add the egg yolks and continue stirring constantly, one minute. (Tip: add some of the hot liquid to the egg before adding to the mixture – that way the egg won’t cook or scramble immediately when added to the simmering pudding and will integrate smoothly)
- Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Stir pudding occasionally while cooking to prevent a skin from forming.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice two of the bananas and arrange slices in an even layer in the bottom of an 8x8-inch baking dish. Cover with a slightly overlapping layer of about half of the Nilla Wafers. Spoon half of the cooled pudding over the layers. Repeat with the remaining bananas, Nilla Wafers and pudding.
- Bake until the top of the pudding is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before serving. In fact, I’d recommend serving it slightly chilled. YUM.