Paula Deen Inspired Banana Pudding

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ImageMy church, during certain holy seasons, will have a meal before service. During Lent we have soup dinner and then worship. Typically I volunteer to make a soup or I’ll just show up to eat and pray. This time around I wanted to make dessert. I had the perfect one in mind. It’s a recipe my brother made for the family one night when we got together for a family meal. So, I’ll admit that this is not my own recipe, and it doesn’t deviate too far from the original recipe. Consider this more a review and how-to style blog today. (The original recipe can be found here.)

The first thing I noticed wrong with that ingredient list is that five ounce packages of pudding are not available; they’re all 3.4 ounces. Next, it calls for way too many bananas. Plus, the steps are in the wrong order for you to get the prettiest meal possible. If you want a vegan alternative, look towards the bottom and I have a list of sites with ingredients to replace the cookies, cream cheese, whipped cream and milk. So that’s where we get inspired, and that’s how I’ll list the ingredients. Haha…

What you’ll need
13″x9″ Baking Pan (Pyrex or Corningware) at least 2″ deep
Two Large Mixing Bowls
Rubber Spatula
Electric Mixer

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Ingredients
2 Packages Pepperidge Farms Chessmen Cookies
2 Cups Milk
1 3.4 oz. package of French Vanilla Pudding
1 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese
1 14 oz. package of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 8 oz. packages of Cool Whip
4-5 Bananas, sliced

  1. First thing you’ll need to do is remove the cookies from both packages. Find all the broken ones and use those to line the bottom of your pan. You’re going to want to use the pretty ones on top. If your pan is like mine and has rounded corners, you’ll need 20 cookies to cover the bottom.

    photo 3

    Step 1

  2. Mix together the pudding mix and milk until smooth. A hand mixer makes quick work of this, but a whisk will work too.
  3. In a separate large bowl combine together the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk with an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Fold in to the cream cheese mixture the cool whip. You see I said (2) 8 ounce packages. You’re going to need 12 ounces, so divide one in half down the middle and fold it in and save the other half. Then use a whole tub of the other.
  5. Once that is all mixed together add it to your pudding and mix together well by hand. Don’t use a mixer, it’ll deflate all that cool whip.
  6. Slice your bananas in to ½” coins and layer on top of the cookies. It’s important that you do this only after you have your filling done or the bananas will turn brown and get slimy. I only needed four bananas to accomplish this. The other two I used to line the sides of the pan as decoration since I had them.

    photo 3 (4)

    Step 6

  7. Pour the whole filling mixture in to the center of the pan. Then using a rubber spatula spread it gently out to the edges. If you do it any other way it’s going to disturbs the cookies and bananas on the edges and bottom.

    PLOP!

    Step 7

  8. Top the pudding with 24 unbroken cookies (6×4). More than that you won’t have enough. (Learn from my mistake! Haha. Repositioning cookies is a pain.)
  9. Place the pudding in the fridge for 1-2 hours or the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

    This dessert was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved it. You can make this vegan though. I love the recipe from Vegan Baking which can be found here. For sweetened condensed milk I love a recipe from andloveittoo.com. For the cool whip try out chocolatecoveredkatie.com’s recipe. The cookies will obviously need to be vegan as well, so again check out Vegan Baking, they have a great recipe for shortbread cookies. Make them cute! Shapes, stamps, etc. For milk just use soy, coconut or almond. Of course you can probably buy all these items, Tofutti has a yummy cream cheese alternative, but it’s more fun and impressive to do it yourself. If you try it, let me know what you think!

The placard that I made to not only allure the people, but warn them of allergens and dietary needs.

The placard that I made to not only allure the people, but warn them of allergens and dietary needs.

The aftermath! (There's no more left tonight, my family ate the rest.)

The aftermath! (There’s no more left tonight, my family ate the rest.)

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