Carla’s Banana Pudding Changed My Family Forever

I wish I'd found this recipe years ago!

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When it comes to the holidays, there is one thing that unites my family unlike any other — banana pudding. That might sound like an exaggeration, but I’m being completely sincere. My mom and I prepare a big batch every Christmas and, when we know particularly hungry guests are coming (you know who you are), it’s not uncommon for us to hide another in the back of the fridge.

Though I’ve grown up with the dish and will always love my mom’s recipe, I’ve realized that the ingredient list (boxed vanilla pudding mix, whipped cream, store-bought cookies and bananas) leaves something to be desired. That’s why I was so happy to come across Carla Hall’s banana pudding with vanilla shortbread class on the Food Network Kitchen app.

Carla’s recipe requires four parts, all of which she makes from scratch: shortbread, pudding, cream and meringue. Though that seemed daunting to me at first, her process really is easy to follow. In fact, techniques that typically intimidated me before, like whipping meringue or cooking pudding, were much easier when I could see for myself how they were supposed to look.

The best part? Carla incorporates banana flavor in each step of her process (minus the cookies), by using mashed banana in her pudding, banana extract in her meringue and chopped bananas in her cream. The result is a decadent, gorgeous dish that’s chock-full of sweet, fruity flavor, plus a little crunch from the delicious vanilla shortbread.

Admittedly, Carla’s recipe is more time-consuming than my family’s instant version, but as Carla says, "it’s a showstopper and you’re going to look like a star." Truthfully, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to our old recipe again — and my family definitely won't miss it. I might have to start making two hidden batches now!

You can make Carla's banana pudding with vanilla shortbread by checking out the Food Network Kitchen app. You’ll be able to drop in for Carla’s classes and learn more must-know tips and must-make recipes.

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