From Grandma Nancy's Kitchen
Southern/traditional banana pudding is one of the few things I make from store-bought ingredients as opposed to cooking from scratch. This is a recipe I grew up on (with on slight modification) and it’s one that’s garnered me more than a few proposals of marriage! It is also the most requested dessert from four of my five grandchildren. For some reason, that oddball child prefers my Cookie Monster ice cream! This recipe is enough for 10 or, as my eldest grandson says, “the five of us times two”!
• 2 boxes of Jello brand Cook & Serve vanilla pudding (MUST be the kind you cook ... do not use instant)
• 4 cans of evaporated milk (full fat – do not use 2%)
• 1 box vanilla wafer cookies
• 4-5 medium bananas (ripe but not bruised) sliced to a 1/8” thickness
• 1 container of Kool Whip OR 8 oz heavy cream, whipped with 2T sugar (Note: I grew up on a meringue topping which was browned in the oven. My grandchildren don’t like meringue so I switched to whipped cream.)
• Assembly for the pudding is a very quick process (to keep pudding from getting a skimmy top), so you should have your 13x9 glass pan and clear plastic wrap close by.
• Slice bananas and set aside; open vanilla wafer cookies and pour out for easy reach.
• Pour two cans of evaporated milk into a 2-3 quart saucepan, add both boxes of pudding and whisk to dissolve completely. Add both additional cans of milk.
• Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat.
• Assemble as follows: 1 layer of pudding, 1 layer of wafers, 1 layer of banana slices. Repeat layers a second time, reserving enough pudding to top.
• Immediately cover with plastic wrap and press firmly against pudding to eliminate air bubbles.
• Place on wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
• Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours; overnight is better.
• When time to serve, remove plastic wrap and top with Kool Whip. Serve any leftover Kool Whip on the side.
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