To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gram's Banana Pudding

Nothing brings to mind memories of childhood comfort for me quite like my grandmother’s banana pudding. It’s simple, delicious, addictive, and (shock of shocks!) mostly healthy. Unfortunately, it’s also always been unreasonably difficult to replicate for some reason. Try as I might, given her list of instructions and ingredients, I still could not achieve the level of ambrosia that occurs in her version of this “easy” dish.

So this time, we did it together, and I wrote down everything she did. It came out wonderfully and disappeared within seconds.

Gram's Banana Pudding (sometimes called Nanner Puddin’) 

What you need:

2.5 qt Corningware bowl* (It doesn’t have to be this brand. But it does have to be this big and it needs to have a flat bottom.)
hand mixer
mixing bowl


Sugar Free JELLO Vanilla Pudding mix (1.5oz/42g)
2 cups cold, fat-free milk* (If making a larger portion or using a larger pudding mix box, always use 1 less cup of milk than the package instructions direct.)
4-6 bananas, barely spotted* (For the tested recipe we used 4, but they differ in size and some folks like more than others.)
1 box Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers* (Gram says if you don’t mind the extra calories and sugar, you should replace these with Pepperidge Farm Chessmen and use the same as instructed.)
1 14 oz can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz container of Cool Whip Free

Pour milk into a mixing bowl and sprinkle in the package of pudding mix. Stir with a hand mixer until well blended, then add the whole can of sweetened condensed milk. 

Mix until “just a little thick”.

Fold the cool whip in with a spatula until you can no longer see any dark yellow streaks in the mix.

Now, for the prep. In the corningware bowl (or whatever appropriately sized serving bowl you’ve chosen), put down a layer of nilla wafers.

Slice bananas into ~1/2 in thick slices. 1 layer of those on top of the wafers.

Now pour 1/3 of the pudding mix on top of that.

Repeat, for two more layers, with nilla wafers first, then banana slices, then the next third of pudding.

Repeat again. 

You’re done! Now simply place the lid of the corningware bowl (or cover with clingwrap) and put into your refrigerator.

Allow the pudding to set for at least 2 hours and a max of 2 days. How long you let it set depends on how much you like the pudding set, and also has an effect on how much the flavors will have blended and ripened together. I prefer 8-12 hours for the perfect mouth-feel and comfort-taste.

Serve generously.

Thanks, Gram.

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