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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Southern Banana Pudding

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99% of the time that I'm making a dessert, it's with other people in mind. Sure, I'm always taking my own cravings into consideration, but I still make those desserts with the intention to share with friends, family, or co-workers. The same could be said for this banana pudding. I love banana pudding and it's probably one of my all-time favorite desserts--a bold statement for me to make! Years ago, I made the sweetened condensed milk/cream cheese/instant pudding version for a crowd I was serving at the Ronald McDonald house. Since then, I've enjoyed it over Thanksgiving, where Ryan's aunt always makes sure to include it in the dessert spread (along with these delish cookies!). I've been wanting to try a 'from scratch' version and had a box of vanilla wafers patiently waiting in my cupboard for the perfect occasion.

I finally set out to make the pudding, with the intention of sharing it with our community group when they came over that week. As I stirred the pudding and watched it thicken (lump free!...unlike the last time I tried pudding!), I thought about how excited my friend Mike, another banana pudding lover, would be. Later, as I assembled the pudding in my trifle bowl, I got a little disappointed as I realized there definitely would not be leftovers. Suddenly I pictured myself sitting at community groups, dishing out banana pudding for everyone and getting ready to serve myself a portion...only to be faced with an empty bowl. Panic set in and I started scouring my cupboards, looking for ingredients to make another dessert.

Don't judge. What good is this blog if I can't be honest with you? So I'll tell you...I didn't share the banana pudding. Yes, I sent Mike home with some and Ryan enjoyed some, but other than that this dessert was all mine. Call me a glutton, call me selfish, but I don't regret it one bit! This pudding really is that good and was well worth feeling like a selfish glutton for a few days. I do plan to make it again, because other people deserve to enjoy...I'll probably just make a second batch for me ;)
One Year Ago: Pesto Roasted Vegetables

Southern Banana Pudding
from greens and chocolate

-3 cups milk (2% or higher)
-1 cup sugar
-4 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
-3 tsp pure vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 eggs
-3 tbsp unsalted butter
-2-3 large bananas, thinly sliced
-1 box vanilla wafers
-1 cup heavy cream
-3 tbsp powdered sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a medium saucepan, whisking to remove lumps and combine. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbling (approximately 10 minutes).
2. Remove from heat and whisk to beat out any lumps. Whisk in butter, stirring until melted. Pour pudding into a separate bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature (10-20 minutes).
3. In a trifle bowl (or 1 1/2 quart casserole dish), line the bottom with vanilla wafers. Lay banana slices on top of wafers. Top with 1/4 of the pudding. Repeat layers, 3 more times or until pudding is gone. Top the last layer of pudding with wafers. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
4. Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Top banana pudding with whipped cream and crushed vanilla wafers.