Banana (Stapler) Pudding

Disclaimer: This recipe does not contain staplers.

It is actually named in honor of a previous co-worker. When I was in college, I worked during the summer as an undergraduate research assistant. One of the other students who worked in the lab group with me treated our lab as his summer theater. He had a very excitable demeanor and was very outwardly expressive. Not only was he loud when he spoke, but he tended to use his whole body to make a point; hand gestures, arms flailing, the whole shi-bang. He also had that whole lack-of-awareness-of-personal-space thing going on which made me (and I’m pretty sure everyone else) very uncomfortable. When he’d talk to me, he’d get so close, I’d always find myself backing up a little bit.

Anyway, one day he burst into the lab in a huff, looking frantically for something. I stood there in amazement for a minute, thinking there was some great scientific breakthrough about to unfold before my eyes. As he continued searching for what seemed like several minutes, I finally asked, “What are you looking for?” to which he shouted,
“I can’t find my banana stapler! Where’s my banana stapler?”

I found myself wondering whether the stapler was shaped like a banana or that “banana” was being used as an adjective like darn or dang…or some other four letter choice words.

I was very amused by this use of a long yellow fruit as a way to convey frustration, but he wasn’t thrilled when I began laughing at his turn of phrase. I even tried to adopt it into my vocabulary as a swear word for a while. But it didn’t last, because in the end, no one can have negative feelings about bananas, right?

banana pudding
“Banana” Banana Pudding

Bananas are not only a cheerful color, they also smell great, taste delicious, and are high in potassium and fiber. Oh, and you can even make ice cream out of frozen bananas (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-with-just-one-ingredient-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-93414)! What’s not to love?

So I decided to post one of my favorite QUICK & EASY uses for bananas, that is, banana pudding. It’s such a classic dessert and is perfect for summer; it’s light, cool, creamy, and crunchy with Nilla wafers spread throughout. It’s the perfect summer treat. There’s definitely no need to use “banana” choice words about this pudding. I also added a little something extra to give it a kick; banana flavored rum. Rum takes this recipe up a notch and makes it more “grown-up”, while also providing you with that little boost you need after a stressful day or anytime, really.

This recipe is so quick and simple to put together. It’s also a great dessert to whip up for unexpected quests or a barbeque (just make sure the party is adults-only or omit banana rum if children will be present).

The only thing you might find yourself saying is “where’s that banana banana pudding?” after everyone gobbles it up.

Banana (Stapler) Pudding
serves 6-8
• 1 box instant banana cream pudding mix (I used Jello brand)
• 2 cups milk of choice (I used 1% dairy milk)
• 1.5 cups Nilla wafers, whole
• ½ cup crumbled Nilla wafers
• 3-4 tbsp. banana flavored rum or other liquor
• 3 bananas, very thinly sliced

banana pudding cross-section
Delicious Banana Pudding Layers

Directions:
1. Mix together pudding mix and milk in a bowl and whisk for 2 minutes, following package instructions. Set aside for five minutes to thicken.
2. In a small casserole round (or ovular) dish, add a thin layer banana pudding and smooth out along the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of whole Nilla wafers, laying them flat over the pudding layer and propping them up along the sides. You can add as many or as few Nilla layers as you like in this layer, according to your preference.
3. Drizzle in 2 tbsp of rum over the Nilla wafers.
4. Peel and slice 3 ripe (but still firm enough to slice) bananas thinly. Layer the banana slices over the Nilla wafers, one layer at a time. This will create 2-3 layers of banana slices, depending on how thinly you slice the bananas and how large they are.
5. Add about ¼ cup crumbled Nilla wafers over the sliced bananas.
6. Add 1-2 tbsp (and more if desired) of rum to the banana pudding, which will have thickened now. Stir thoroughly to incorporate rum throughout.
7. Pour the banana pudding over the banana slices in the baking dish, forming and even layer. Spread and smooth with back of spoon. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled Nilla wafers over the top. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours so Nilla wafers absorb liquid and soften, or overnight.

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