Over 25 years ago, a sweet Southern woman in the Women's Ministry group I belonged to walked us through how to make this recipe in the church kitchen, right off the Fellowship Hall. She had written the recipe out in long hand on 13 index-sized recipe cards (one for each lady in the group and one "extry" just in case). For years I used that recipe card, until the ink began to fade and it was completely covered in food stains. I've now made this recipe so many times, I no longer need the recipe card, but I like the memory attached to it. This Southern Style Banana Pudding is one of my most requested recipes for family gatherings. I like to call her -- the Queen of Desserts!
Step 1: Gather Ingredients & Tools
- 8 ounce block cream cheese (softened)
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 5.1 ounce box Vanilla Instant Pudding
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 16 ounce container of whipped cream
- 1 box Nilla Wafers
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Trifle Bowl (or other glass serving bowl)
- Small Paring Knife
- Rubber Spatula
Step 2: Let the Mixing Begin
In medium-sized bowl, combine softened block of cream cheese and can of sweetened condensed milk. Mix with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth.
Chef's Notes: If the block of cream cheese is not softened, the mixture will have lumps in it -- as she should, the Queen prefers everything to be nice and smooth.
Step 3: Vanilla Pudding
In large mixing bowl, combine milk and box of instant vanilla pudding. Mix with hand mixer on medium speed 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.
Step 4: Combine
Add cream cheese mixture to pudding mixture and mix with hand mixer on medium speed until well combined.
Step 5: Whip It Good
Add 1/2 container of whipped cream to the pudding mixture and mix with hand mixer on low just until combined.
Chef's Note: To remove the pudding (or any other batter) from beaters, gently tap beaters on the side of the bowl -- or you can do, what I like to call, a quality control check! I won't tell anyone!
Step 6: Let the Layering Begin
You will need the trifle bowl (or other glass serving bowl), small paring knife, rubber spatula, cookies, bananas, pudding and whipped cream.
Step 7: Layer One: Cookies
Cover the bottom of the bowl with Nilla Wafers. I like to place the cookies upside down -- it makes them look like little cups ready to receive the rich pudding coming their way!
Step 8: Layer Two: Bananas
Next cut three medium bananas into rounds and evenly layer over the cookies. I do not recommend using bananas that are too green (hard) or bananas that are too ripe (mushy) -- somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot.
Step 9: Layer Three: Pudding
Next add half of the pudding mixture over the banana layer and spread evenly with rubber spatula.
Step 10: Do It All Over Again!
Repeat layers: cookies, bananas, pudding.
Step 11: Fancy Time
Next insert Nilla Wafers standing up (pretty side facing out) around the rim of the bowl. Don't push cookies too far down into the pudding because they will act as a barrier to contain the final layer of whipped cream. I like to think of the Nilla Wafers as a crown for the Queen!
Step 12: Cloud of Glory
Next add the remainder of the whipped cream. Hallelujah!
Step 13: Finishing Touches
To make the whipped cream layer look even more regal, lightly tap the surface of the whipped cream with the back of the rubber spatula forming tiny peaks. This may take some practice (it's all in the wrist).
Step 14: Accessorize!
Finally, to pull it all together, sprinkle any remaining cookie crumbs over the surface of the whipped cream.
Step 15: All Hail the Queen
Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.
Let the festivities begin!