Way back when we were first dating, my husband made dinner for me. Some sort of chicken and veggie pasta type of dish and then banana pudding for dessert.
It was a sweet gesture, especially since cooking is really not his thing. In all the years since, he’s maybe made one other meal… maybe. Not counting things like frozen pizza, boxed mac and cheese, and being in charge of the grill. Since I like to cook, I’ve never really minded this particular division in labor. But that’s probably why that meal sticks out in my mind.
He was particularly proud of his banana pudding. That was the first time I’d even had banana pudding. While it’s not a strictly Southern dessert, it does seem to have many more fans down here than where I grew up.
But Nilla wafers, bananas, vanilla(or banana) pudding, and Cool Whip in layers? Meh.
Don’t get me wrong, I gushed over the sweet gesture back on our date, but I wasn’t looking forward to having that banana pudding again any time soon, not when there are so many more tasty desserts out there.
Though to my husband, that’s THE dessert. The one he loves and is his comfort food. So, over the years, he’s asked for it. And I’ve sort of complied with the flavors of banana pudding in cake form, pie form, cheesecake form, and even milkshake form, but I avoided making the traditional banana pudding.
But then our 14th wedding anniversary was approaching and due to our schedules, we decided we’d have dinner at home that night and I thought I’d make something my husband would really like. I knew I was going to make chicken and dumplings as our main course(one of his favorites, but another I usually find rather meh- though I did make a really awesome version of it… which perhaps I’ll share later, but it’s really labor intensive, so it doesn’t fall in with the quick and easy recipes I usually share here). And then banana pudding for dessert- not banana pudding flavored something, but just plain ol’ banana pudding.
Of course, since it was OUR anniversary and I have such a sweet tooth, I thought maybe I could tweak the recipe just enough that it would still be the banana pudding he loves but also be something that I would enjoy, too. And oh, did this ever work and now I understand his love of banana pudding.
Ironically enough(at least, ironic to my Southern born and raised husband), this is a copycat recipe from Magnolia Bakery in New York City. You still have the classic ingredients, but just slightly changed. You’re mixing your pudding mix with sweetened condensed milk instead of regular milk. Making your own whip cream instead of using Cool Whip and blending it in with the pudding instead of layering. Then, I found a pudding mix that tastes so much better than the regular instant JELL-O- still JELL-O, but it’s the JELL-O Simply Good Vanilla Bean Instant Pudding Mix. They also have a banana variety if you prefer your banana pudding made with banana pudding instead of vanilla. I should have a picture of this, but when I was making this, I never thought I’d post this recipe since it was just banana pudding, nothing to get excited about… and then I tasted it and totally changed my mind, so I’m including an affiliate link to it on Amazon, though I bought mine on the shelf at Walmart.
Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Copy Cat Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding mix (JELL-O Simply Good Vanilla Bean Instant Pudding)
- 3 cups heavy cream
- About 3-4 bananas, sliced
- 12 oz box Nilla wafers
- In a large bowl, beat cold water and condensed milk until combined, about one minute.
- Add pudding mix and beat until incorporated, about two more minutes.
- Cover bowl and put in the fridge for 4+ hours to let it set. You can make this part the night before you want to serve your banana pudding if that’s easier.
- In a large bowl, whip the cream until still peaks form. This always takes longer than I think it will and I start thinking I’ve somehow messed it up, but keep going and it will work.
- Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until combined.
- You can make your banana pudding in one big trifle bowl or you can make individual serving sizes. Whichever way you do it, you want a layer of Nilla wafers, a layer of bananas, a layer of the pudding mixture, and repeat(usually 3 layers).
- Refrigerate for about 4 hours. You probably want to serve this same day so your bananas don’t start to turn brown… but it’s still amazing the next day or even a few days later.