No one ate the dish I brought at our first church pot-luck.
Being fairly new to this church, we decided to attend lunch at the last minute. On a whim, I threw together a fairly healthy pasta salad with grape tomatoes, fresh basil, salt, mozzarella cheese and olive oil. A simple crowd pleaser, so I thought.
When we arrived, I placed my pasta dish near the middle of a massive spread of casseroles spanning the length of the cafeteria. We made our way through the line, ate and got ready to head home. I went to retrieve my dish and to my bewilderment the pasta was still there…all of it.
I had to step up my game.
Months passed, we started worshiping there regularly and felt we had found a great church home.
Patiently waiting for the chance to redeem myself, the opportunity finally rolled around last Sunday at another pot-luck. Determined to prove my cooking credibility I chose a safe and popular dessert. And what’s a quintessential Southern dessert that few can pass up?
That’s right y’all, banana pudding.
On Saturday I carefully constructed the pudding layer by layer until the dish was full. Tenderly placing it in the icebox for an overnight chill, I let the flavors meld until showtime.
The next morning we woke up, worshiped and trek downstairs to partake in lunch. Shuffling through the line we piled our plates with fried chicken, squash casserole and vegetables. Southern church ladies don’t mess around in the kitchen.
We stuffed ourselves, caught up with friends and were starting to amble out the door. The moment of truth came when I went to retrieve my dish. This time, to my relief, it was nearly scrapped clean.
Lesson learned, amidst heavy competition banana pudding is a sure winner.
Note: I used a 2 1/2 quart round Corning Ware baking dish and had a little pudding leftover. Depending on the dish, you probably won’t use all of the vanilla wafers or bananas.
1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1 – 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
3 c. milk (I used 2%)
1 – 5.1 oz. box of instant vanilla pudding
1 container of whipped topping
1 box of vanilla wafer cookies
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft. While it’s whipping, add in the vanilla. Next, slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk until it’s fully incorporated with the cream cheese. Then add the milk in the same manner. Once the filling is smooth again, sprinkle in the box of instant vanilla pudding. Let the mixer work in the pudding until it’s lump free. Then, gently fold in the entire container of whipped topping.
Once the pudding has been made, line the bottom of a large baking dish with vanilla wafers. Add a layer of sliced bananas on top of the wafers. Pour half of the pudding on top of the banana and spread evenly. Repeat the process creating another layer of vanilla wafers, banana and then pudding.
Cover the dish and let chill overnight (or for at least four hours). Directly prior to serving, garnish the top of the pudding with crumbled vanilla wafers and sliced banana.
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