I love potlucks, if for no other reason than they give me an excuse to try out recipes. (The massive quantities of food don't hurt either. Of course, for every well-made Italian Wedding Soup, there's a hot dog helper being forced down unsuspecting throats. )
For today's lunch, we brought Shane's "Viva Lula Brazilian-style Black Bean Soup" (post TK), the Peeps on the Lawn dessert salad, and the Magnolia Bakery's Famous Banana Pudding.
It's very easy pudding to make (especially since it uses instant pudding) though there are time constraints. The condensed milk-water-instant pudding base has to be chilled for a minimum of 4 hours. Once you add the whipped cream and assemble, the recipe specifies chilling everything again for at least 4 -- but no more than 8 -- hours.
Who has that time? I made the base yesterday afternoon (it firmed up quickly, but I left it in the fridge for 4 hours anyway), assembled everything last night, and placed back in the refrigerator. It was eaten around 11:15am today so, all told, it sat in my fridge, fully assembled, for 13 hours.
It was fine. More than fine: really good. And now, 24 hours after it was first assembled, it's really, really good.
I'd never whipped heavy cream before so I was a bit wary; go too far and you'll get butter. I used the balloon whisk on my Kitchen Aid mixer, cranked it to 10 and, before I knew it, I had whipped cream. Surprisingly easy -- and now I'm eager to do it again, flavoring the cream with vanilla, mint, orange, coffee, amaretto, rum ... the list goes on and on.
As for the pudding, it had a gentle banana flavor when served this morning, though I'm sure if I had used riper bananas, the flavor would have intensified. (Having said that, the bananas I used were fully yellow with spots. Anything less ripe would have been a bad idea.) Now (again, 24 hours later) the flavor is spot on. Yum.
This pudding doesn't have the heavy mouth feel typical of pudding; the whipped cream really lightens the consistency, though remains rich and filling. It's much more a banana cream than a pudding. In fact, it might be nice to serve the pudding as a pie by placing it in a Nilla crumb crust (or graham cracker crust , or chocolate cookie crust) and topping it with dollops of sweetened whipped cream, some banana slices and a few cookies. (Hmm, you might even echo bananas foster by using a cinnamon graham cracker crust and topping the pie with rum flavored whipped cream...)
I pulled this recipe from The Recipe Link , which has an extensive list of sample cookbook recipes. The pudding recipe appears here as it does on Recipe Link.
Magnolia's Famous Banana Pudding
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas [Use the kitchen measurement convertor -- LR]
In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours, but no longer! - before serving.