Banana pudding is a dessert that originated in the southern United States. Banana pudding is a simple, no-fuss dessert that, despite the name, is made with vanilla pudding. The dessert consists of layers of vanilla pudding, vanilla wafer cookies, and fresh sliced bananas (much like a trifle) and is usually topped with whipped cream or meringue. Banana pudding recipes first appeared in the early twentieth century — 1902 in Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book and 1903 in The Kentucky Receipt Book — as a combination of the vanilla pudding, fresh sliced bananas, and whipped cream; the wafer cookies were added during the 1960s.
Banana pudding has grown in popularity since then; it has even inspired a National Banana Pudding Festival that takes place each year in Tennessee. The festival includes a Miss Banana Pudding pageant for girls between the ages of 5 and 13, two stages with entertainment, and, of course, a banana pudding cook-off.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.