Establishing the "best" banana pudding is far too subjective. Some people like their cookies soft, others like their cookies crispy. Some want lots of bananas, others just want a few. But after numerous rounds of taste testings and experimenting with friends, I will say this: My banana pudding kicks ass.
Due credit: the heart of this is the homemade vanilla cream pudding, a recipe I clipped from Southern Living in the late 90s. But the rest of it has come together through experimenting over the years and taking the best of various recipes.
Lynsley’s Banana Pudding
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 package Lorna Doone cookies
4 ripe bananas
Vanilla Cream Pudding
Begin by making the Vanilla Cream Pudding:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine first three ingredients (sugar, cornstarch, salt) in a medium-heavy saucepan.
Separate the three egg yolks.
Gradually add egg and milk mixture to sugar mixture in the same fashion (add a little bit of liquid and completely incorporate, add a little more, etc.). Whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly (should take about 10 minutes). Boil, whisking constantly, one minute. (Do not boil longer than one minute or the cornstarch will begin to break down.)
Chill for several hours, and enjoy!