From reading Grace's delectable poundcake entry yesterday, I learned that Psychgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen is seeking tried and true, culinary diva-style recipes for her Tried, Tested and True 3: Wedding Edition event.
After some thought, I realized the dish that has won me some of the highest accolades and emptiest dishes at library potlucks (never get between a librarian and food, LOL!) is this utterly simple, sinful dish from Paula Deen. I'm talking about heaven on earth, people, in the form of banana pudding. But not just ANY banana pudding. Forget the bland, soggy vanilla wafer versions you may have fallen victim to at a church supper as a child. This is Not Yo' Mama's Banana Puddin'. This one shines with crunchy, buttery shortbread cookies, velvety cream cheese, and real whipped cream laced with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. (At least when I make it!)
One of the great things about this recipe is that it goes together superfast, and is BEST if you make it ahead of time, so what better to make for a busy occasion? It can just wait in the fridge for you until you are ready to serve it. Now normally, I avoid ingredients like instant pudding mix, but trust me, it is just what is needed for this scrumptious pudding.
Now, since it's just the 3 of us here and I don't think it would be terribly good for us to eat an entire 9x13 panful of this delectable stuff, I made only half a recipe for us. But a full-size recipe is perfect for a potluck, so I've given the directions below for the whole she-bang.
Felicitations to Psychgrad on her upcoming nuptials! I hope the following recipe will bring much joy to the occasion!
Paula Deen's Not Yo' Mama's Banana Puddin'Ingredients:
2 c. milk
1 5 oz. pkg. instant French Vanilla Pudding
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
1 t. pure vanilla extract, preferably Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies
6-8 bananas, sliced
ground mace, for dusting
Now, I'm gonna tell you to do this a little differently than Paula does, so your bananas won't turn brown.
First, mix the French Vanilla Pudding mix and the milk together in a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer.
Next, in a 4 c. glass measure, combine the softened cream cheese and the sweetened condensed milk; mix wth the handheld mixer to combine.
Step 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the heavy cream, the vanilla, and the powdered sugar. Whip on high speed until stiff.
Step 4. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream.
Observe the wonders of modern food science! :)
Step 5. Scrape the by now quite firm vanilla pudding into the whipped cream bowl. Using the whisk attachment, blend on medium speed until everything is well-incorporated. Park the bowl in the fridge while you proceed.
Step 6. Layer the cookies in the bottom of a 9X13 in. glass pan. (I'm using a 9X9 pan here, but you get the idea.)
Step 7. Place the sliced bananas on top of the cookies.
No, We Have Yes Bananas!
Step 8. Cover the cookies and the bananas with the vanilla custard mixture that's been dutifully waiting in the fridge.
Step 9. Cover the custard with another layer of the cookies, breaking them as needed to fill in any gaps.
Step 10. Refrigerate for several hours (or days, even) before serving, so the flavors can blend. The cookies will soften some. To serve, dust each serving LIGHTLY with ground mace, if desired. That's the red stuff in the picture.
Of course, you will think of many pretty ways to garnish this.