Back in the Day Bakery’s ‘Nana Puddin’

One of my favorite desserts of all time was the ‘nana puddin’ at Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah. This was the first version of banana pudding I’d ever had that used shortbread in lieu of nilla wafers. One word: amazing. Sadly, the bakery shuttered its doors. Hence, making your own is the only way to continue to enjoy this absolutely divine dessert. It’s the quintessential summer treat and I’m serving it up for our patriotic pool party this week!

Note: My favorite doll’s name was Puddin’ :-)

Also Note: This is John’s second favorite dessert after Creme de Menthe Brownies. The child only loves desserts that take me 139 hours to prepare. :-)

Final Note: Since this is for a pool party with everyone likely eating at different times, I’m serving in these cute cups. They can be grabbed out of the cooler on demand, rather than having one large serving dish to sit out and get grossly warm. I was able to eek out 25 servings – 24 for the party and 1 extra for John.

‘Nana Puddin’

Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook | Serves 12

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • One 14-ounce can condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 recipe shortbread cookies (recipe follows)
  • 8 large bananas, sliced into coins
  • 1 recipe Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
  1. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until well blended. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the half-and-half to its boiling point (do not let it actually boil), then whisk 1/2 cup into the egg mixture to temper the eggs.
  3. Keep whisking as you add the rest of the half-and-half. This keeps it from curdling.
  4. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and cook, whisking slowly, until the mixture has thickened.
  5. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  6. Let the mixture rest for 3 minutes to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter until it is melted and the pudding is glossy.
  7. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding so that a skin does not form, and let the pudding cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  8. Whisk in the condensed milk, and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds stiff peaks.
  10. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled pudding mixture. Put it back in the refrigerator to chill until you’re ready to put everything together.
  11. Spoon one-third of the pudding into a large serving bowl. Top with about one-third of the shortbread cookies, followed by a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat the process, ending with bananas. Finish with dollops of Fresh Whipped Cream. Covered with plastic wrap, the pudding will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

Janie Q Shortbread Cookie Bars

Makes 48 bars

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 18″ x 13″ cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Grab a rubber spatula, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in thirds, beating until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Finish mixing by hand to make sure the dough is thoroughly mixed.
  6. Press the dough evenly into the cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until golden. Remove the shortbread from the oven and let cool completely. Cut into 2-inch bars. (You should get 48 bars. The banana pudding uses 36.)

Storage: These bars will keep for up to 5 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Fresh Whipped Cream

Makes about 3 cups

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl—using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.

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2 thoughts on “Back in the Day Bakery’s ‘Nana Puddin’

  1. This looks and sounds delish but what a labor intensive recipe! The things we do to feed our fam! 🩷 Happy 4th of July!

    1. Haha, right!? I feel the clock ticking with him and would make nana puddin every day at this point. :-)

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