M Bakery meets turon in this Filipino take on banana pudding. This version adapts Magnolia Bakery's original recipe with local butter cookies and a turon-inspired indulgence: chunky caramelized saba bananas and langka (jackfruit), cooked with a bit of brandy for a fun wink of flavor.
What is M Bakery?
Remember when cupcakes were everywhere in the early 2000s? You can thank M Bakery—or Magnolia Bakery in the US—for that.
The New York-based neighborhood bakery shot to fame after appearing on an episode of Sex and the City. Fans and tourists waited in long lines for their own pink-frosted Carrie Cupcake. A former Magnolia Bakery employee would jump on the trend and bring it to the Philippines with Cupcakes by Sonja.
In 2018, Magnolia Bakery opened its first Manila branch as M Bakery. Why the name change? So you won't confuse it with a certain ice cream brand.
What is Banana Pudding?
After the cupcakes, everyone knows Magnolia Bakery for their second most popular dessert offering: the world-famous banana pudding.
Banana pudding is a classic dessert from the American South. Similar to mango float, it's a chilled, no-bake dessert made with layers of fruit, cream, and biscuits—sliced bananas, creamy vanilla custard, and vanilla wafers—in a glass dish. Some home recipes will top it off with whipped cream or toasted meringue.
How to Make M Bakery-Style Banana Pudding
Every banana pudding needs three things: bananas, vanilla pudding, and vanilla wafers.
This turon-inspired recipe replaces the plain sliced bananas with something more exciting: saba bananas and chopped langka (jackfruit) caramelized in brandy and sugar. Sweet, jammy, and a little chunky.
2. Vanilla Pudding
The steps for the vanilla pudding come straight from the source: the cookbook More From Magnolia by Magnolia Bakery owner Allysa Torey.
While the authenticity helps, simplicity is the recipe's bigger draw. The pudding comes together with just four(!) ingredients:
- condensed milk
- ice-cold water
- Jell-O instant vanilla pudding mix
- heavy cream
You can find Jell-O instant vanilla pudding mix in your supermarket's baking aisle, usually next to the gelatin. If you can't get your hands on a box, you can make vanilla pudding from scratch with eggs, milk, sugar, and a bit of cornstarch.
3. Vanilla "Wafers"
Banana pudding purists will insist on using Nabisco Nilla Wafers—no substitutions. (Torey echoes the same sentiment in her cookbook.)
Since Nilla Wafers aren't available in the Philippines, we use the next best thing: butter cookies. Any plainly-flavored crunchy cookie will work here. Once chilled, they soften and take on a more cakey texture. Save a few crushed pieces for garnishing on top.
Caramelized Banana & Langka
- 24 saba bananas
- 3 cups fresh or bottled langka (jackfruit)
- 1 cup brown or muscovado sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup brandy
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 300ml can condensed milk
- 1 ½ cups ice-cold water
- 1 3.4-oz package Jell-O instant vanilla pudding
- 3 cups heavy or whipping cream
- 11oz store-bought butter cookies
Make Caramelized Banana & Langka Layer
Prepare bananas and langka: Peel saba bananas and slice into long pieces. If using bottled langka, strain fruit. Chop langka finely and set aside in a bowl with the sliced bananas.
Flambé brandy: Add brandy to a pan over medium-high heat.
Before flambéing, clear any flammable objects away from the stove. Make sure to stand at a safe distance from the pan.
If using a gas burner, tilt the pan away from you to make contact with the flame underneath. Alternatively, use a long-reach lighter or match to ignite the brandy. Turn off the heat and let the flame die down on its own. Do not blow on the flame to extinguish it; cover the pan with a lid if needed.
Cook bananas and langka: Add butter, water, and sugar to the same pan. Heat over medium-low, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until sugar is completely dissolved. Add sliced bananas and chopped langka. Cook until tender, stirring gently to avoid crushing the fruit, no more than 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
Make Vanilla Pudding
Make pudding mix: Using a hand or stand mixer, beat condensed milk and cold water on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add instant pudding mix to the mixture. Beat until smooth and lump-free, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized bowl, cover, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour to overnight.
Whip cream: In another bowl, whip heavy cream with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip.
Tip: Store mixing bowl and paddles in the refrigerator before whipping. This will help the cream stay in the proper temperature and hold its peaks.
Add pudding to whipped cream: Reduce mixer speed to low. Keep it running and add vanilla pudding mixture a spoonful at a time. Beat until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
Assemble Banana Pudding
Assemble and chill: Prepare butter cookies. In a large glass trifle bowl or between 8 glasses, spread ¼ of the pudding mixture to make your first layer. Top pudding layer with ⅓ of the cookies, crushing them to smaller pieces if necessary, and ⅓ of the caramelized banana langka. Repeat with remaining pudding, cookies, and banana langka, ending with a final layer of pudding. Garnish the top with additional cookies or cookie crumbs.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4–6 hours. Cookies should be tender when poked with a knife. This dessert is best served within 12 hours of assembling. You can serve it immediately too, though the cookies won't be as soft.