• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla (or chocolate) Jell-O pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (12 ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers, with a handful of wafers set aside
  • 4 cups ripe bananas, sliced

Oh, why hello there. I’ve been on hiatus since January and it’s definitely nice to be back. But don’t worry, you haven’t missed much. I’ve actually been training for a half-marathon since we went on break. So my weekends were spent running in Central Park rather than at the Greenmarket or in the kitchen. Besides, I was just eating bagels – lots of them – and they weren’t even homemade…so nothing too blog worthy there. I’m happy to say that the training is pretty much over since the race is next Sunday. And just in time too – Spring is here; although, it has felt like Spring for almost all of 2012 so far. And what better way is there to say hello to Spring than seeing all the seasonal produce pop up at the Greenmarket. Ramps have been spotted on some menus in the city and we ran down to Union Square this afternoon to pick up 2 bunches for ourselves. You can be sure that there will be a ramps post coming up soon.

But getting on point to this welcome back post – Spring means picnics and potlucks. Banana pudding is a great shareable dessert that is hands-off and incredibly easy to make. Even its colors resemble Spring. This recipe is a crowd-pleaser…and it’ll definitely feed a crowd (or two). Everyone will need to pitch in to eat it because if you let leftovers sit in the fridge for an extra day or two, the wafers will get too soggy and bananas too dark and mushy. I’m a vanilla fan, but for chocolate lovers, you can use chocolate Jell-O pudding mix instead. Also, if you want to make these into individual servings for a nicer event (and if you have enough mason jars to cover a 4-5 quart capacity), then assemble the banana pudding in mason jars rather than in a wide/trifle bowl. Mason jars for sure add a nice, rustic touch to the dessert. To be certain, this banana pudding tastes great, jar or not.

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, beat together until just combined (about 1 minute) the condensed milk and water using an electric mixer on medium speed.
  2. Add in the pudding mix and beat well for about another 2 minutes.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight before continuing.
  4. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until still peaks form using an electric mixer on medium speed.
  5. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
  6. To assemble, in a large (preferably glass) bowl (4-5 quart capacity), arrange 1/3 of the wafers to cover the bottom, overlapping if necessary.
  7. Then top the wafers with 1/3 of the sliced bananas, then follow with 1/3 of the pudding mixture.
  8. Repeat this layering two more times.
  9. Using the handful of wafers set aside, break them into large crumbs and sprinkle over the pudding to form the top layer.
  10. Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap.
  11. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or up to 8 hours, before serving.

Cook’s Notes

If you’re using medium sized bananas (about 6″), then you can count one banana as one cup.

I wanted to go lighter on the whipped cream and only used 2 cups, which is fine for the pudding too.

Be sure to let the pudding mixture set well for 3-4 hours or overnight (which I do), so it forms a smooth consistency.