In my opinion, banana puddin' made from scratch is one of the best desserts ever. That homemade custard is so comforting and actually really easy to make. This recipe is inspired by the banana pudding at Gillie's Seafood in Charleston. They serve theirs in little mason jars, but I like to make it in a large casserole dish to feed a crowd.
Make the pudding: Combine the milk, sugar, flour and salt in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes thick, about 8 minutes. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and beat lightly. Whisk a little bit of the milk mixture into the egg yolks until tempered. Slowly add the egg mixture to the milk mixture, and whisk until combined. Cook 2 more minutes to cook the eggs, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and butter, stirring to melt the butter. Let stand until cooled, about 30 minutes. (You can also chill the custard over an ice bath for 10 minutes.)
Make the vanilla bean whipped cream: Chill a mixing bowl and beater in the freezer. Scrape the vanilla seeds from pod with a paring knife into the chilled bowl. Add the whipping cream and sugar to the bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
To finish: Arrange a single layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add a layer of sliced bananas on top. Cover with half of the pudding. Repeat the layers once. Top the last layer with the whipped cream. Garnish with the crushed vanilla wafers and sliced bananas, if desired. Cover and chill 1 hour, or until ready to serve.