Magnolia Bakery's Famous Banana Pudding Is Easier To Make Than You'd Think

Magnolia Bakery might have made its way onto New York City's food map with the help of Sex and the City and its lead characters, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon), but it didn't become an institution because of its pink frosted, vanilla-flavored Carrie cupcakes. 

Time Out lists Magnolia as one of the city's best bakeries (along with Dominique Ansel Bakery and Momofuku Milk Bar) because of its banana pudding, which it describes as "a bite of comfort and nostalgia all wrapped in one bite." Eater has also elevated the dessert by labeling it a local secret and a New York icon, along with 29 other dishes that include Levain Bakery's chocolate chip walnut cookie, the Recession special at Gray's Papaya (two dogs and a papaya drink), and combo over rice at the Halal Guys. 

While Magnolia Bakery has changed hands since it was first opened by Allysa Torey in 1996, its current Chief Baking Officer Bobbie Lloyd appears to have stayed true to the original banana pudding recipe which appears in the original Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Jennifer Appel and Torey (via PBS), and it's easier than you might think.

Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding uses regular pantry ingredients

Banana puddings have been around since the 1880s, and the recipe Magnolia Bakery makes use of stays pretty close to the original recipe, which used to be printed along the side of Nabisco Nilla wafer boxes, according to Eater. The pudding calls for sweetened condensed milk, ice water, instant vanilla pudding mix (Jell-O is recommended), heavy cream, vanilla wafers (Nilla is recommended), as well as four to five ripe bananas. Putting everything together takes less effort than you might think, but it does require a bit of time to set, so you'll have to prepare it at least an hour, and at most overnight, before you plan to serve the dessert (via Eater).

There is one quality that the banana pudding shares with its sister cakes and cupcakes. Magnolia's Bobbie Lloyd tells PBS that every recipe the bakery uses for its sweets are unique. "We don't use a base or a mix and just add a flavor. When we are creating something new, we start with our flavor profile of a cupcake or cake, or look for the texture we are trying to create in a bar or cookie... We also bake in small batches all day using small mixers. Baking this way ensures that our products will be fresh."

Still, if you really want to serve banana pudding the way Magnolia does it, you could pick up one of its kits which comes with Jell-O, Nilla Wafers, and the shop's iconic cups and wooden spoons — but you'll still need to come up with your own bananas and heavy cream.