Earlier this week, my mother called me inquiring about what I’d like for my birthday. Keep in mind I’ll be turning 26 years old and have refused presents for nearly 10 years now. Somehow, I was able to keep her at bay, change the subject and end the phone call without giving her any outlandish gift ideas. Her mother’s intuition must have kicked in soon afterward she hung the phone up though because later that evening I was surprised by a knock at the door. She had driven over an hour, from her house to mine, to hand-deliver a large helping of one of my favorite desserts: banana pudding. It just so happened that The Fresh Market near my house had just started carrying Steve’s Ice Cream products and it just so happened that I had picked up a pint of their Southern Banana Pudding earlier that day with the intentions of enjoying the whole thing on my actual birthday (August 10th). Now Steve’s had some serious competition in the form of my own mother’s homemade banana pudding to live up to.
Steve’s version of this southern staple comes in at 280 calories per serving and combines their own banana ice cream swirled with Pies ‘N’ Thighs banana pudding and a vanilla wafer crust crumble. The clear container fully displays the lightly colored ice cream, pale yellow splotches of banana pudding and plenty of those wafer pieces. While it may not be quite as gaudy or visually appealing as a pint of my mother’s actual banana pudding, that’d be an unfair comparison. I let the carton sit out for a few minutes and scoop out some of the banana base to serve as my first taste. The rich, super-premium banana ice cream is among the best I’ve ever had and acts as the perfect foundation for a banana pudding themed flavor.
The smaller bits of the vanilla wafer crust crumble provide some crunch to each bite as they share each spoon with the sweet, banana ice cream. Even though there are plenty of tiny wafer pieces in each spoonful, they grow to be much larger further down. The bigger pieces of crust adds some real texturem along with the genuine flavors of actual vanilla wafers. Although it may vary from pint to pint, mine was absolutely loaded from top to bottom with this crumble. To finish off their Southern Banana Pudding ice cream, Steve’s once again looks to the expertise of the Brooklyn-based Pies ‘N’ Thighs.
As I worked my way towards the bottom of this carton, I encountered plenty of the darker yellow splotches of actual banana pudding. Not only is the consistency completely different from the ice cream itself, but it also introduces another element of authenticity. My only complaint was that, until the pudding fully melted down, there were a few bites full of an icy texture; but only initially. Once the pudding had thawed a bit, a bite landing all three key components easily reached the requirements giving this flavor an A. I’ve had quite a few considerations for best banana pudding ice creams ever, but this one may be the new front-runner.
Where I Found It: The Fresh Market
And just for good measure, here's some more banana pudding eye candy: