For our very first recipe, I chose a simple and Southern one: Banana Pudding. Some of y'all need a taste of the South anyhow so I have added a teaspoon of Southern flavoring to this post. Now, if you are truly Southern, you might tend to call it 'Nana Puddin'. I guess we Southerners are just too busy to say all those unnecessary syllables and letters. Plus 'Nana Puddin' is somethin' we say often enough that we know exactly what we mean AND there are lots of grandmas around here named Nana so maybe we're just talking about their puddin'.
This recipe is a great one for you to make as a beginner because it doesn't require any "cooking". There is no heat involved and hardly any measuring (just the milk). If you can use a hand mixer and layer the ingredients, you can make this recipe. Actually, a hand-held whisk would work, too.
You will want to mix this in a large mixing bowl so that you don't sling the ingredients all over kingdom come when the mixer comes on. Always keep the beaters straight up and down. That apron is going to come in handy on this one! The first speed on the mixer is all you need and remember to always keep a hold of the bowl in which you are mixing or you will be cleaning pudding off the floor. And since there is no egg in this recipe, you may lick the beaters.
The only thing you will have to measure is the milk. Measure it in a glass or clear plastic measuring cup that has the measurements marked up the sides. Set it on the counter and stoop down to look at it at eye level to be sure it is exactly 2 cups.
Don't forget to follow the instruction about leaving 1/3 of the whipped topping. I use a clean spatula to section it off and then push the other 2/3 into the mixing bowl. See? They told you that you would use math in real life! There are lots of fractions in cooking, but they are as easy as pie.
That word "divided" is important to note. When an ingredient is divided, it means that you will eventually use that whole amount in the recipe, but part of it at one time and the rest at another time. Be sure not to dump the whole amount in at the first use.
The trickiest part of this recipe is to get the ingredients mixed smoothly. When incorporating things like sour cream, the mixer may tend to chop it up into little chunks so make sure you mix until it is smooth.
By the way, the lid to that sour cream makes a great disposable spoon rest (if you are using all of an 8 ounce container). Use it and toss it. There will be no pudding to wipe off of the counter!
You will want to stop the mixer, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is blended, and then mix just a little bit longer.
Now you are ready to put the dessert together. "Desert" (like in the Sahara Desert) has one "s"-- just the bare necessities; nothing extra. Dessert IS something extra. It has two. Someone once told me they look at those two s's and think "strawberry shortcake".
Assembling the banana pudding is just a matter of layering. I use a clear glass bowl so you can see the wafers lining the bowl. Start by making a layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of the bowl and then one row going up the sides. Now peel and slice a banana. A table knife is sharp enough to slice bananas and provides a safe way for you to learn to chop food. Lay the slices on all the wafers you have put in so far. Now add just enough of the pudding to cover the wafers and bananas. You may need to push it around with the spatula to cover the bananas. The pudding holds the wafers in place. Now add a few more rows of wafers and bananas and follow by putting pudding [Hey, that's fun to say! 😉] on top. Do this until you use all of the pudding.
I like to place banana slices and then wafers over the top surface of the banana pudding so that you get bananas and wafers in every spoonful.
The final step is to spread that reserved whipped topping over the top of the whole dessert. Remember that it is the air that makes the bananas turn brown (oxidation) so you want to cover them completely. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for several hours. Bananas start turning brown quickly so this is a dessert that doesn't keep very long. It's so good that it won't last long anyway!
When I need to double this recipe for a bigger crowd, I like to do an extra layer of wafers and bananas through the middle, like I described doing on the top. I almost said "This recipe may be doubled" but that always makes me say "Duh!" when I see that. Of course, you can double it! Make it as many times over as you want.
Banana Pudding is a great dessert to serve with a heavy or spicy meal. It is much lighter than some desserts, the flavor is mild so it doesn't compete with strong flavors, and that chilled pudding may be just what you need to cool down a burning tongue.
Now keep all of those tips in mind as you follow the recipe. Don't forget to W.A.I.T.!
Let's review some things you learned.
1. Liquids are measured at eye level in transparent measuring cups.
2. Use a disposable container lid as a temporary spoon rest.
3. The word "divided" in a recipe means to use part now and part later.
4. Dessert is spelled with two s's.
5. Oxidation makes peeled bananas turn brown when they react with air.
6. "Putting pudding" is fun to say. Putting pudding, putting pudding, putting pudding...
makes 6-8 servings
2 cups milk
2 (3.4 oz) packages vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
8 oz whipped topping, divided
8 oz sour cream
1 (11 oz) box vanilla wafers
3-4 ripe bananas, sliced
1. Mix the first 4 ingredients, saving one-third of the whipped topping.
2. In a large bowl, layer wafers, bananas, and mixture.
3. Top with the reserved whipped topping.
4. Keep refrigerated.
This recipe is featured on Christy Jordan's Southern Plate Meal Plan Monday #5.