Old Fashioned Banana Pudding with a Twist (actually several twists)

This weekend we were invited to a dinner party, where I had volunteered to bring the dessert. It has come to my attention that we aren’t that well liked, they just invite us so I will bring the dessert, as folks know that I love to bake and use any opportunity for a reason to do so. Also, Jodi had invited some of their friends over on Saturday night and of course, and I had volunteered to make her dessert for her gathering as well. When given her choice of what she wanted me to make she choose banana pudding. Being that that is not one of my favorite desserts with the vanilla wafers, I quickly remembered Paula Deens banana pudding which steps up traditional banana pudding about 10 notches. That was my deciding factor, remembering standing in our kitchen, licking the bowl of Paula Deens banana pudding several years back. She uses Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies instead of vanilla wafers and adds several ingredients making this a most richly flavored dessert. By the time I got to the store, I decided to just make a double batch, one for the Duprees and one to take to our dinner party. Walking through the grocery store I started thinking about the chessman cookies and decided that I would use a crust that is so easy and yet so delicious instead of the Chessman cookies! It is the crust which is used for Texas Panhandler Yum Yum’s. Now, it was all coming together. That would be the crust, and Paula Deens filling for the pudding. All that to say…….here is the version that was made and devoured Saturday night.
When Jodi called this morning she told me that her company ask what the crust was because it was just delicious. Trust me on this, you will love the combination of the flavors and the ease of which it is made.

Thank you Paula for sharing more of the Southern dishes that make our lives a little more heavenly with each bite.

Preheat oven to 350.
Crust

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup butter

Melt butter in microwave safe bowl. When completely melted, add the flour and the nuts. Stir to combine and place in either a 9×13 or a 11×7″ pan. If using the 11×7, the crust of course will be a little thicker. I was making it for 6, so I used that size. I made Jodi’s in 9×13 because she was serving 9. Either works fine.
Spread crust ingredients in pan using your fingers until dough is spread evenly in pan and bake in preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. IF using the 9×13 it won’t take as long to bake. Cool crust completely. Set aside.

Filling
2-3 bananas
1 (3 oz) package of french vanilla instant pudding *see below
1 (3 oz) package of white chocolate instant pudding
1 (8 oz) softened cream cheese)
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (Eagle Brand)
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed

Topping * See Below
1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Whip softened cream cheese with the Eagle Brand milk until well combined. Add the Cool Whip and beat just until well mixed. Set aside in fridge while making pudding.

Beat both packages with 3 cups of cold milk until thick. (recipe on box will say use 2 cups for each box, but do not do this, just use the 3 cups for the 2 boxes combined) When thickened, add to the cream cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Slice 2-3 banana over cooled crust. Spoon pudding mixture over the sliced bananas. Place in fridge, covered with plastic wrap.

Whipped topping

It is very important to use a very clean, grease free bowl to whip cream. any grease will cause the whipping cream not to thicken. Using 1 1/2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and whip until whipping cream is thick and holds its shape, about 3-4 minutes. Spoon over chilled pudding mixture and keep covered in fridge until ready to serve.
Cut into squares and serve with more sliced bananas on top if desired.

*I use French vanilla instead of the banana instant pudding, just because I don’t like so much banana flavor. But you can use banana instant pudding if you like a more banana flavor.
*if you don’t like or want to use whipped cream for topping buy an extra Cool Whip and use instead.

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