The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Shelbyville News”. By: Blaise Doubman.
Sharing Banana Pudding Secrets…
I have several banana pudding type recipes on my website, including one for chocolate banana pudding and even a banana pudding cake, but I do not have a recipe anywhere for traditional banana pudding. Which really came as a surprise to me, especially since I have quite the history with the dessert. What started out as a pure hatred for this dessert, has really, over the years, turned into quite a delicious and enjoyable dessert for me. The hatred for this dessert really began when I was younger, and I just could not seem to wrap my mind around the fact that people loved eating soft vanilla wafers. Ha! I wanted my vanilla wafers crispy, like they were supposed to be. I would always help my Grandma Barbra make it, prepare it and serve the banana pudding but I would never eat it. Now, in my defense, I did try it and hated it. However, over the course of many years, trying many different foods that opened my mind, and my taste buds, I became a little more open minded on things and decided to try it again. I started, as I always do, with research, followed by experimentation and trying lots and lots of recipes.
After trying several recipes, I went back to my source recipe for inspiration, my Grandma Barbra’s original recipe. After a few tweaks and making it my own, it became my go-to recipe. There are a few secret tips and tricks to this recipe that my Grandma Barbra taught me. First off, be sure to use vanilla flavored instant pudding in this recipe, not banana flavored. You would think the more banana flavor the better, right? No! The banana flavored pudding is too strong and contains too much chemical aftertaste that is really undesirable. The bananas in this recipe really need to stand on their own in the flavor department. Also, you may look at my recipe and notice there are only 5 cups of milk called for, not the traditional 6 cups. I decrease my recipe to 5 cups because it makes for a thicker, and in my opinion, more flavorful pudding.
This can be made ahead, wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for several days.
2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
5 cups whole milk
4 bananas, peeled and diced
4 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 box vanilla wafers
1 tub Cool Whip
Start by whisking together the 2 large boxes of instant vanilla pudding mix with the whole milk in a large bowl with a wire whisk.
Add in the prepared diced bananas and stir gently to combine.
Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with a single layer of vanilla wafers.
Pour over evenly, half of the pudding mixture.
Add on top, evenly the prepared sliced bananas.
Top with another single layer of vanilla wafers.
Spread the remaining pudding mixture evenly on the top, carefully.
Spread with the Cool Whip and place another single layer of vanilla wafers on top.
Crush a few vanilla wafers and sprinkle the crumbs evenly over.
Cover with aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving.
Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions about using Turbinado sugar, which is sometimes referred to as “Sugar in the Raw”. My favorite ways of using this sugar is in coffee or tea. You can also sprinkle some on top of cookies or scones, before baking, for a slight crunch to the finished dessert. The taste is super sweet, slightly maple like and very satisfying.