Hey…um…hey guys. Remember me?
I know. I’ve been gone forever! It’s been a remarkable journey. I pissed off the edge of the wall, I slept in a sky cell, I fought with the hill tribes! So many adventures. So much to be thankful for.
Okay, that was actually Tyrion Lannister. But if you’re not in Game of Thrones mode right now, what is wrong with you?
In actuality, I’ve been super busy redecorating our house! The good news is that it’s finally all painted. Phew! That was certainly a major hurdle that prevented me from being in the kitchen. 🙂 Now I’ve been busying myself with various DIY projects, such as a new headboard, some string art, repurposing old mirrors, etc. I’ve included some pictures at the end of this post so you can see!
In the meantime, I’ve been dying to share this super easy and gorgeous banana pudding trifle with you.
Banana pudding is a wildly popular dessert, especially here in the southern U.S. It’s composed of layers of pudding, fresh banana slices, vanilla wafer cookies, and whipped cream. And when eaten together, it’s as if Drogon is flying over the Narrow Sea toward your rightful throne. It’s typically prepared in a rectangular pan of some sort, such as a casserole dish, but I tend to think it’s much more aesthetically pleasing as a trifle. I mean, look at those layers, would you?
So here are my tips and tricks on how to make it. I will post the full recipe at the end of this post. 🙂
First of all, you want to make sure your bananas are ripe enough. Bananas are obviously a main component of this dessert, so don’t mess it up. These brown speckles are a sure sign of sweetness.
Perhaps even more important than the bananas, however, are the vanilla wafers. Trust me, you’ll want to go name brand here and pick up Nabisco’s Nilla Wafers (#notsponsored). In the picture below, the generic brand is on the left and the Nilla wafer is on the right. Not only do they drastically differ from each other visually, but the generic brand is much harder, almost like a ginger snap. The Nilla wafer is softer and much more likely sop up the moisture from the pudding, which is what you want. There are some crazy people out there who prefer that their cookies stay crunchy, but even so, I still recommend the Nilla Wafers. The ones pressed up against the inside of the dish for decoration won’t get as soft as those used in the layering. It’s the best of both worlds.
You’ll need some instant pudding for this recipe, a small 3.4 oz box and a larger 5.1 oz box. The flavor is up to you! You can do all vanilla, all banana, or even chocolate if you want. I used a 5.1 oz box of vanilla and a 3.4 oz box of banana. Just prepare it according to the instructions and let it set up.
Since the pudding will be quite thick, it’s worth it to thin it out with some whipped cream. You can use Cool Whip (if you must), but I prefer to just whip my own so I can leave the sugar out of it (the pudding has enough already). 1 1/2-2 cups of heavy whipping cream should do it.
Then you just fold the cream into the pudding like so. Keep going until it’s all combined.
To begin arranging the trifle, spread some of the pudding mixture in the bottom of the dish. Keep a damp rag handy in case you accidentally bump the sides.
Now add some sliced bananas over the pudding and some cookies around the side. Pro tip: Only slice up one banana at a time, and only right when you’re going to use it. No one likes brown bananas!
Cover the layer with 1/3 of your pudding mixture, then repeat the first layer using all cookies this time. These cookies will get nice and soft as they soak up the pudding.
Now add pudding, and make this layer all bananas.
More pudding, you say? Yes! And more cookies!
Now add a bit more pudding (enough to cover) and arrange the rest of your bananas.
Top with the last of the pudding, and you’re done! How easy was that. If you want, you can decorate the top with some crushed up cookies, or even a dash of cinnamon. I opted to leave mine plain.
And there you have it. Gorgeous! You can serve it right away, or let it sit in the fridge for a while so that the cookie layers get softer. Just keep in mind that the bananas will brown a bit over time. Either way, it’s sure to be a show stopper at your next potluck!
And as promised at the beginning of this post, here are some of the projects I’ve been working on lately. The first is a new headboard made from old pallets. I’m pretty proud of it, considering it’s the first thing I’ve ever made by myself. I sourced the pallets, loaded them up, broke them down, nailed, hammered, glued, painted, etc. I think it looks pretty nice! Especially in comparison to the cheap-o Target headboard we had before. And in case you’re interested, the frame is painted the color “Mortar” by Behr; the pallet boards themselves only have a few coats of poly. The wall color is “Smokey Wings,” also by Behr.
On the other side of the bedroom I painted my dresser and repurposed an old mirror. The dresser was some ugly 80s looking wood color that I painted to match the new headboard (Mortar), and the mirror came from one of our bathrooms. It was one of those builder grade mirrors without a frame that they just plop on the wall in front of the sink. I used some frosted glass spray paint to create this design and then we built a frame for it. Then we hung it on the wall and I attempted to clean off any smudges using some vinegar and water. After all that work, the vinegar completely disintegrated the frosted glass paint. lol. It was kind of a nightmare. I repeated the design with more spray paint, but it’s not the same. On the other hand, it sort of looks like I made it imperfect on purpose, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I plan on fixing up the remaining smudges once I work up a little more courage.
Here is the dining room table and bench seat that my husband built. It’s pretty fancy. He noticed while building it that some of the boards he chose were warped, but we just went with it anyway. It adds a bit of character. Those two chairs were leftover from our previous dining table. I painted them white and reupholstered them with some new fabric. Then my cat immediately ruined one with her scratching. Luckily, I love her. I eventually want to replace that light fixture with something else, I’m just not sure what yet. The wall color in this room is “Sea Wall” by True Value.
And lastly, here is some string art I did for our living room. That was pretty fun project that didn’t take too long. You just find a design you like, use nails to outline it on a board, then use string to fill in all of the areas.
SO! That is what’s been up with me. I have a million more things planned, so you’ll have to let me know whether or not you care about seeing them. I want to build a new coffee table, add a bench with storage in front of my bed, build some corbel lights, new nightstands, floating shelves, wall art, etc! So let me know. 🙂 I can’t stop.
Until next time, here’s the recipe!
- 1 box of Nabisco Nilla Wafer cookies
- 4-6 ripe bananas
- 1 5.1 oz box of instant pudding (vanilla, banana, or whatever your heart desires)
- 1 3.4 oz box of instant pudding (vanilla, banana, or whatever your heart desires)
- 1 1/2-2 cups heavy cream, whipped (or 1 tub of Cool Whip)
- Prepare the instant pudding as directed; chill until set.
- Whip the cream to stiff peaks; fold it into the pudding mixture.
- Add a spoonful of pudding mixture to the bottom of your trifle dish. Press a row of cookies around the bottom of the dish, then fill in the middle with sliced bananas.
- Add some of the pudding mixture. Add another row of cookies, including some in the middle.
- Top with more pudding. This time, add a row of bananas, including some in the middle.
- Add another layer of cookies, the rest of the bananas, then top with the remaining pudding mixture.
- Keep chilled until ready to serve.