As a child of the ’80s I am a big fan of pudding pops. I’ve made no secret of my love for pudding on this finest of food sites. If it were up to me The Takeout would be devoting at least 40% of its resources to the pudding arts and sciences.
This recipe has been designed fit my personal pudding needs, and it is so spectacular that thinking about it makes me tear up a little. It ensures ready access to banana pudding yet requires as little effort as possible, and the result is a frozen banana custard cake that is creamy, satiating, and flat-out dynamite. I made the whole thing in my big fancy blender, but if you don’t have a big fancy blender, you can make it in a large vessel like a stockpot and use an immersion blender. Alternatively, you can blitz the eggs and bananas in a food processor, then whisk it together with everything else in a large bowl. You can serve pieces of this banana custard cake on a stick, or you can eat squares of it with your bare hands. Whatever it takes to make this happen in your life, do it.
Banana Pudding Pops
1 (11-oz.) box vanilla wafer cookies
1½ sticks (12 Tbsp.) melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 ripe bananas
2-3 cups milk (if your bananas are brown and mushy, use 2 cups milk. If they’re firm and yellow, use 3 cups. If they’re somewhere in the middle, use 2½ cups.)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a 13 x 9" cake pan with lightly greased aluminum foil.
Dump the entire box of vanilla wafer cookies into a blender, pulse until they’re coarse crumbs, then transfer them to a bowl.
Put the eggs into the blender and blend on high speed for about one minute until they’re doubled in size. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, salt, bananas, 2 cups of milk, and 1½ cups of the cookie crumbs, then puree until smooth. The batter should be relatively thin, like pancake batter. If it’s thick like a milkshake, add more milk, ¼ cup at a time, until the batter reaches the right consistency.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and gently tap it on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, then slide onto the center rack of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until the custard is fully set. Allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover the top loosely with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
While the custard is still in the pan, use a bench scraper or a sharp knife to slice it in half lengthwise, then make five cuts crosswise so that you have 12 relatively even rectangles. (Keep it all in the pan for now.) Sprinkle enough cookie crumbs over the top of the custard to make a thin, even layer. Cover with plastic wrap, then gently press down to adhere the crumbs to the surface. Return to the freezer for one hour.
Line a baking sheet with a piece of plastic wrap and flip the custard out onto it, peeling off the foil. Cover the newly exposed side of the custard with a layer of cookie crumbs, wrap in plastic, and press down gently to adhere. Return the custard to the freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
Once the custard is frozen enough to easily handle, separate the 12 slices, adding cookie crumbs to the edges if you like. Slide wooden popsicle sticks halfway into each slice and wrap them individually in either plastic wrap or parchment. (You can also skip the sticks and wrap the slices in wax paper like ice cream sandwiches.) Eat them straight out of the freezer, or let them thaw at room temperature for a few minutes before enjoying.