I found out recently, Southerners claim that it isn’t just Banana Pudding BUT Southern Banana Pudding… it’s traditional down here… and what could be more southern than Paula Deen... well.. maybe the Neelys... so on the hunt I went... for the best banana pudding recipe.
I wanted to make one of Warren’s favorite desserts for Valentine’s Day and decided it would be Paula Deen’s Banana Pudding.
While on my hunt, I was surprised by the title of one of her recipes…. (after all… she is the Queen of the South… or at least southern cooking….) … “Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding”…… I chuckled a bit at the title… and went on to scan the ingredients…. no butter… no heavy cream… no mayonnaise… wow… it was actually something I would consider….
Now don’t get me wrong.. I love Paula… her show is among my favorites… but I rarely make her recipes.. and if I do… I almost always tone it down… I mean who can eat all that fat and still live to tell about it?… All across America, Cardiologists should be giving her a commission.
Okay… back to this recipe…. traditional Southern Banana Pudding… is made with vanilla wafers… her recipe uses shortbread cookies… a nice change.. believe it or not … that one little change can make all the difference….
Traditional recipes vary… most use a vanilla pudding… some use a banana pudding… some just make the pudding as is… some add in sweetened condensed milk… which this one does…. a terrific “must add” addition……and finally….most layer the whipped cream over the bananas and pudding… this one mixes it in the pudding… another great little change.
According to the food network … at the present time while I’m writing this post… 1848 reviewers gave this recipe an average of 5 stars!... I must tell you I have never seen 1000 reviews on a Food Network recipe… much less 1848.
My Southern man… who loves banana pudding (Southern style)… and who loves vanilla wafers… absolutely loved this recipe…
When testing this recipe out… I followed it exactly… I used whole milk… figuring Paula wouldn’t use anything else… but after making it … I came to the conclusion.. you can use a lower fat milk or even fat-free… (except for the size of the pudding package and amount of milk…see below for why).
The recipe calls for whipped cream or Cool Whip… I opted for the Cool Whip… I know, I know… the Queen of Whipped Cream actually used a substitute… and yes, I’ve seen the commercials… it’s made with oil not cream… but I happen to like Cool Whip in recipes… and I like the Lite Cool Whip … so I could cut the fat a bit more… believe me… you can’t tell in this recipe.
I did hit a snag when it came to the pudding…. her recipe called for 1 (5 ounce) box of instant French Vanilla pudding…. I couldn’t find a 5 ounce size… I could only find it in 3.5 ounces…. Even the bigger boxes in other flavors were not 5 ounces… so I bought two 3.5 ounce boxes (small size)… and added an additional ½ cup of milk… it worked fine.
Her recipe calls for Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies… their shortbread cookie… I’m partial to Lorna Doones… so I used them instead… use either one… whichever you prefer.
Make sure you use sweetened condensed milk NOT evaporated milk.
Make sure you use French Vanilla instead of just Vanilla Pudding… while the Vanilla would work.. trust me… French Vanilla added immensely to the taste of this.
I wrote the recipe below with the two changes… the size pudding box(es)… and upped the amount of milk to take into account the fact I was using 7 ounces of dry pudding mix instead 5 ounces…. I didn’t want you to run into the same dilemma I did.
This makes 12 servings... perfect for a family or a pot luck supper dish... you can also cut it in half for less servings.
This is one awesome recipe!
Recipe: Banana Pudding
All you need:
2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies or 2 boxes of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
6-8 bananas, sliced
2 ½ cups of milk
2 (3.5 ounce) boxes Jello Instant French Vanilla pudding
1 (8 ounce) pkg of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed or an equivalent amount of sweetened whipped cream
Whipped cream for garnish
All you need to do:
Line the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch dish with shortbread cookies.
Layer the sliced bananas on top of the cookies. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the milk and the pudding mixes and blend well with a hand mixer (if you don’t have a hand mixer you can make it in a blender or a stationary mixer and dump it into the bowl when blended).
Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth (I used my stationary mixer and beat it on low speed until very smooth and creamy)
Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.
Add the cream cheese mixture into the pudding mixture until well blended.
Pour the mixture over the cookie and bananas in the dish.
Cover the entire top with shortbread cookies.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 12 servings.
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