Friday, February 8, 2013

Banana Pudding

Hello! I'm really excited to share today's recipe. It's an old favorite of mine that I used to make in college all the time. That sentence should tell you two things: 1) since I used to make it in college all the time, it is a cheap and easy dish (6 ingredients total) and 2) since I used to make it in college all the time, it's definitely a comforting dish that makes you feel terrible about your jiggly bits afterwards but is too good to pass up.

So obviously, you can tell by the title that I'm sharing a recipe for banana pudding. Banana pudding is not like vanilla pudding or tapioca pudding because it's not banana-flavored pudding. It's a Southern dish which is similar to a trifle because it's made by layering cookies, custard, and bananas and topping it off with whipped cream. Once you make it, an amazing thing happens where the cookies start to absorb the moisture from the custard and the flavors all meld together and it's wonderful. Magnolia Bakery is pretty famous for its banana pudding but I think mine's better! But I can't take all the credit, as I take a LOT of store bought help. And by the way, this would be an awesome dessert to make for Valentine's Day because it looks fancier than it is. I don't know how romantic bananas are supposed to be (you gutter heads are probably putting some thoughts together after that statement) but making something yourself to give to your babe is definitely romantic, even if the ingredients are not "classics" like chocolate.

I shared at the beginning of this week that I bought a trifle dish and I thought that this would be the perfect first recipe to break in that sucker.

Ingredients [fills a 4 to 5 cup trifle dish]:
1 box Nilla Wafers
1 package instant vanilla pudding (Jello is my preferred brand)
2 cups milk (or however much is required by your preferred brand of instant pudding)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 bananas
*the amount of cookies and bananas can be adjusted to your preference
Start by making the instant pudding by following the instructions on the box. Jello brand just requires you to whisk the powder and milk together for 2 minutes until it thickens up to a soft-set texture.

Next step is to make whipped cream. If you wanted to get a little more store bought help and just buy a container of Cool Whip (or any generic whipped topping) that's cool too (aren't I clever with my jokes?). I prefer to make my own whipped cream because then I can control the amount of sweetness. Just whip the cream and powdered sugar together for a few minutes until the texture if fluffy and spreadable.
Last step of ingredient preparation is to slice the bananas. I like cutting them rather thin just so I don't encounter any huge obtrusive chunks of banana, but some people prefer bolder sizes of banana.
Now it's time to assemble the pudding. Start with your trifle container - or the dish of your choosing, which should preferably be glass just so the layers are visible - and spread a bit of vanilla pudding in the bottom. Then add a layer of Nilla Wafers. I was able to fit 8 cookies comfortably on the bottom, but that wasn't enough for me so I took 2 more cookies and crushed them up and sprinkled the crumbs in the empty space. On top of the cookies, spread on a layer of whipped cream. Then layer bananas on the whipped cream. Go back to the vanilla pudding and then repeat the layer process again and again and again until you've used everything up or you've reached the top of your dish.
Here's just a little collage of different views of the banana, while it's being made and after it's been completed. I sprinkled some cookie crumbs on top just because I could. I love the stripes of yellow and white, don't you?
So once the pudding is complete, refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the cookies to absorb the moisture from the pudding and the cream.
After being patient for so long, you deserve a treat! Use a spoon to scoop out a generous portion.
It doesn't look as pretty when it's scooped out onto a plate but it's pretty delicious.
Dig in and make sure to grab a bit of everything.
This looks like the plate of a satisfied customer.
Here's the recipe page, if you need it:

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