We three cooks have serious southern roots. I was born there, and growing up Maggy and Sharon spent weeks at a time with relatives in Alabama and Northern Florida.
My clan loves banana pudding—I’d have to say it’s our signature dessert. They passed their love of it on to me, which I’ve passed on to Maggy and Sharon. We happily enjoy this dessert any time of year, but now when good fruit is scarce and everyone’s had their fill of pumpkin desserts, a banana pudding has appeal.
… Except that it feels a little casual for a holiday dessert. Layer it in a pretty bowl and call it trifle, however, and it’s at home at the most festive gathering. Most kids who wouldn’t touch traditional trifle with all the booze soaked cake, will likely love this big bowl of vanilla pudding and wafers, whipped cream and bananas.
Speaking of kids… have you checked out how easy this banana trifle is to make? Once you get the pudding made, you might just turn assembly over to them.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk, plus 1 cup whole milk to equal 4 cups
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons vanilla extract, divided
2 cups heavy cream
1 box (12 ounces) vanilla wafers
6 bananas peeled and sliced, plus another 1/4 for garnish
Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small Dutch oven or soup kettle. Just before adding milk, whisk in egg yolks, and then turn heat to medium and vigorously whisk in milk. Continue to whisk occasionally and more frequently as it heats, until mixture boils and thickens to pudding consistency; remove from heat; stir in 4 teaspoons of the vanilla. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep a skin from forming; cool to tepid.
When ready to assemble, whip cream with remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla to soft peaks. Reserving 12 vanilla wafers and the 1/4 banana arrange a portion of ingredients in 4 layers in a 3-quart decorative bowl in the following order: vanilla wafers, bananas, pudding, whipped cream. Line bowl circumference with remaining wafers, standing them up and pressing them into the pudding. Cover and refrigerate until cookies soften, a couple of hours and up to overnight. When ready to serve, garnish with bananas.