Friday, April 22, 2011

Grandma's Banana Pudding

 Well I just got back from a long-awaited, though brief, vacation to sunny, sandy, hot Florida. My grandparents have lived there as long as I can remember, something my family has taken advantage of every summer and spring break past. Since my mom moved down there, as well, followed by my dad's parents, too, it makes for a practically perfect getaway with housing covered and sweet company around the clock. My two sisters and I met in the airport and started what would be a great trip comprised mostly of sunning and swimming and eating and sleeping and movie-watching (I was sufficiently creeped out by both Black Swan and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in one night. Way dark [though, i must insert that one was amazing and one not]. We decided we should definitely have squeezed a Disney movie between the two. ). There's something about Florida air that's utterly sedating. I'm a typically fairly energetic person (when not comatose from working a full night), but the second I step off the plane and draw in that dense, warm breeze, I'm a good-for-nothing slug the rest of the trip. It's a guarantee. Lethargy and all, we enjoyed a step away from the day-to-day, and had a great time catching up and reminiscing. 
      We made sure to indulge in some fresh catches while down there (myself, a fried grouper wrap. others, fish tacos and calamari. yum.), but also whipped up some goodies of our own. We decided to belatedly celebrate Mom's birthday with a meal for which my sisters and I prepared this crazy good pasta dish which I adore (Ina, of course.). And, for dessert we pulled out the standing Florida vacation favorite: Banana Pudding. Simple and unfailingly addicting. By alternating layers of vanilla pudding, bananas, and nilla wafers, you effortlessly produce the most homey, happy dessert you could wish for. I remember grandma showing me how to make it years ago while spending Thanksgiving in the snowy Smokies. Toasty inside over the heated stove she taught me to keep stirring and stirring the pudding so the milk wouldn't scald. And, no higher than medium heat! she reminded, or it wouldn't turn out. What's funny is that my grandma is actually not much of a cook herself, though judging by this pudding you'd never know. 

Grandma's Banana Pudding
fills a 4-quart bowl
enough for at least 15 servings

2 large boxes of cook and serve (not instant!) vanilla pudding
6 cups milk (i used 1%)
~10 large ripe bananas
two boxes of Nilla Wafers (i think they were 12 oz each)

1. Combine milk and pudding mix in large saucepan, whisking together. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan until bubbling (about 5 minutes or so). Turn off heat and continue to stir and scrape for a few more minutes as pudding thickens more. Let sit and move on to #2.
2. Layer bottom of 4 quart bowl with wafers. 
3. Slice bananas into 1/2 inch pieces and layer on top of wafers. 
4. Pour warm pudding over bananas, just enough to cover.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you run out of room, then crumble wafers on top to finish! Serve immediately (warm, like Grandpa likes it) or refrigerate and serve later, after pudding has softened the wafers a bit (like the girls like it). 

{two of my favorite people}


  1. Lane!
    This is the way I make banana pudding, too! My grandmothers and mother make it this way. It's my favorite.
    amy j

  2. amy- yay i love it. seriously, the best. my favorite, too. miss you!