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My niece Ally lives in Hoboken, NJ and when she comes home to visit she would always brings a container of banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan for my Mom. My Mother raved about how wonderful this pudding was and of course I had to find a way to make this dessert for her so that Ally wouldn’t have to pay $8 for a small cup of this sweet goodness. A quick search on Amazon and I found the complete Magnolia Bakery cookbook recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey’s Home Kitchen. I ordered a copy of the book for both my Mom and myself, and as soon as I gave her copy to her she promptly gave it to my niece Ally so she would have a copy. So I gave my Mom my copy and told her that I would get another copy for myself. Before I could order my copy, she gave that second copy to my sister Michele, which meant I needed to order more copies because my baby sister Stacey needed a copy also. I think all-told I ordered something like 6 copies that were distributed to family members.

Anyways after finally getting all the copies ordered I finally made the recipe for my Mom on Mother’s Day. It was a huge hit, so much so, I didn’t even get a taste of the stuff, nor did I get a picture of it to put here on the blog, nor did I get a picture of the pudding the second time I made it, but I did get to taste it, heaven, absolutely heaven. For yesterday’s family party, I made this pudding and made sure not only to get a taste of it, but also a picture of it so I could post the recipe on my blog.

Although the pudding recipe is wonderful as written, of course I’ve had to tinker with it, my slightly modified version is below.

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 1/2 (12-ounce) boxes Mini Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
8-9 ripe bananas, sliced

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.

* * * NOTE: we’ve found that the longer this pudding sits, the mushier the vanilla wafers get, and by Gawd are they yummy, so don’t be afraid to make this food of the Gods a day before your gathering, because contrary to what the recipe says, the pudding is still beyond delicious even though it’s sat in the fridge for a day or two.

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