Banana Rum Pudding with Toasted Coconut – A recipe from Southern Heat

Banana Pudding (1 of 1)

Many people have already received their copies of Southern Heat – New Southern Cooking, Latin Style and tomorrow you should be able to find the cookbook in stores near you! November 3rd to be exact! Of course, it’s also available on  The response has been overwhelming for the book, so we’re very excited.  By the way, it makes the perfect Christmas gift! 🙂

This is our first book, which was a collaboration with Chef Anthony Lamas of Seviche, A Latin Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. As you probably know, many chef recipes are very daunting and sometimes the recipes don’t work as presented in the book as most chefs cook by experience and taste and not measuring cups and spoons. Our goal with Southern Heat was to create workable recipes for a home cook from the menu at Seviche along with family favorites and dishes that Anthony likes to prepare at home for his family.  We worked together in the restaurant kitchen and then I put in many hours of recipe development and testing at home to assure these recipes will work for the home cook.

With Anthony in California for the filming of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking

With Anthony in California for the filming of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking

This is one of the first recipes to be published from the book and one of our favorites, Banana Rum Pudding with Toasted Coconut.

The pastry chef at Seviche, Steve Rappa, creates amazing desserts along with Anthony’s inspiration and flavors. Some of them are Steve’s old family recipes that he’s updated and tweaked. This dessert is really delicious and ideal for serving during the holidays when you have a houseful of guests. It’s an updated version of the old classic, Nilla Vanilla Banana Pudding with some of Anthony’s Latin inspiration of coconut and of course, rum.

This fancified version of banana pudding will please adults and children alike. There’s just enough rum to give it a unique and wonderful flavor, but not enough that the kiddos can’t enjoy it, too.

The photo from the book shows the recipe as it’s prepared at the restaurant, in individual servings, but for ease in preparation, you can prepare the dessert in a 13 x 9-inch pan (as the recipe directs) and cut into squares for serving. Just be sure to reserve the fresh slices of banana and toasted coconut pieces until you’re ready to plate the dessert. Follow the recipe directions for the best results for setting it up properly since this dessert is made with fresh ingredients and not boxed pudding mix.

If you do decide to serve the pudding in individual dishes (the headnotes tell you how), there will be leftover pudding and whipped cream, but that’s certainly not a problem. No one in your home is going to complain about having to eat a little extra homemade pudding made with rum and topped with sweetened whipped cream. 🙂

If you like this recipe, be sure to visit your local bookstore or order Southern Heat online at, so you can prepare more delicious recipes like this one in your home.

Serve this impressive dessert to guests during the holidays

Serve this impressive dessert to guests during the holidays

Banana Rum Pudding with Toasted Coconut

While the recipe calls for making this dessert in a large pan, you can get fancy and prepare the dessert as we did for the photos. If you decide to do that, use an 8-inch square pan to bake the vanilla wafers. They will take a few extra minutes to bake since they are thicker. You will also have some pudding leftover, but no one in your family will complain about eating homemade pudding laced with spiced rum. Trust me on that. You will also use less whipped cream, but those leftovers are good, too.

When you make this as the recipe suggests, in a 13 x 9-inch pan, you can prepare it a day ahead. In fact, the flavors get better after they’ve spent some time together. Make the vanilla wafer crust and then once the pudding is cooked and chilled, top the crust with the pudding and refrigerate overnight. The next day and at least several hours before serving, prepare the whipped cream and spread it over the pudding layer. When you’re ready to serve to guests, top whipped cream with sliced bananas and sprinkle with toasted coconut pieces.


For vanilla wafer crust:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ ounces heavy cream, plus more for brushing crust

For rum pudding:

  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup Gossling’s rum

For whipped cream:

  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 to 6 bananas, sliced and tossed in a little fresh lemon juice to prevent browning
  • ½ cup (or more) toasted shaved coconut


  1. For vanilla wafer crust:
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch pan and set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar. Cream together until combined and pale yellow. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl, if necessary. Add honey and vanilla, mix on low speed until incorporated. With the mixer running on low speed, add 1/3 flour mixture alternately with 1/3 heavy cream, blending well after each addition. Do this two more times until batter is smooth. Using a spatula, transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly in the pan. (* Note – You can also use a piece of parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with vegetable spray to help even out the batter.) Brush the top lightly with heavy cream. Bake in a 325 degree oven just until set and golden, approximately 15 minutes.
  3. For rum pudding:
    In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring 2 cups of the milk just to the point where bubbles form around the edges and it’s steaming. Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the milk with the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, salt, and vanilla. Whisk well or use a hand mixer to combine. Slowly add hot milk, tempering the mixture, while whisking constantly.
  4. Once mixture is thoroughly combined, transfer to a clean, medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, bringing pudding to a boil. Continue cooking and stirring constantly for 1 minute, until thickened like pudding. Remove immediately from the heat and add the rum. Stir well to combine and transfer to a medium bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight until cool.
  5. To assemble:
    The day before serving, layer the pudding over the top of the vanilla wafer crust. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. For whipped cream:
    In a chilled bowl of a stand mixer, add heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla. Beat on high with a balloon whisk, just until stiff peaks form.
  7. Several hours before serving:
    Remove pan from the refrigerator and spread whipped cream evening over the top with a spatula. Cover and return pudding to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  8. When ready to serve dessert, have sliced banana ready and arrange them evenly on top of the whipped cream. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Slice into serving size squares and serve immediately.

Reprinted from Southern Heat – New Southern Cooking, Latin Style
Anthony Lamas and Gwen Pratesi
Taunton Press

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