There's really not much to say about the wonders of good ol' Southern banana pudding. Everyone's got a favorite recipe, and it's usually straight from the back of the Nilla wafer box. And there's good reason, too. It's delicious!
I found my favorite version in the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook a few years back (I know, I know. They're Yankees. But the recipe is said to be born in Texas. That's Southern enough for me.) It truly is the best I've ever had. Some people may turn their noses up at it since it uses pudding from a box, but I say don't knock it 'til you've tried it. And this is coming from a girl that usually turns her nose up at powdered mixes!
So here is where it gets interesting. I was recently going to make Magnolia's tried-and-true banana pudding for a friend, but while perusing the cookie aisle at the grocery store I happened upon a large box of chocolate MoonPies. You might be able to guess what happened next. Twelve empty plastic wrappers and a pile of chopped up MoonPie's later, and the recipe to end all recipes was born. Don't you love it when that happens?
Later that day, while picking up barbecue at my favorite local joint, I struck up a conversation with the very cool owners. This led to that, and next thing I know we were discussing my MoonPie banana pudding. They exchanged intrigued glances. Hmph. Hey, if it ends up on their menu in the future, I better get free banana pudding for life!!
I'm not going to lie, y'all. This recipe has earned Dixie Caviar the most rave reviews to date. It's been ravaged two times in as many weeks, and with barbecue season upon us, I see many more in my future. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Source: Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
Serves 12 - 15
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding (preferably Jell-o)
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12 pack) box chocolate moonpies, cut into eighths
5 ripe bananas, sliced (about 4 cups)
In a medium bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk and ice water with an electric mixer until well-combined. Add vanilla pudding mix and continue to beat, about 2-3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate pudding until completely set, about 3-4 hours (or overnight).
In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream and vanilla with an electric mixer until thickened and stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding until well blended and no remaining yellow streaks are visible.
In a large trifle dish (or glass bowl), layer 1/3 of the sliced bananas followed by 1/3 of the chopped moonpies. Cover with 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Repeat until the entire dish is filled. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but no longer than 8 hours (or the bananas will start to darken).