Classic Southern Banana Pudding is the one bowl of goodness that gets everyone smiling. This creamy sweet treat filled with banana chunks, whipped vanilla pudding, and delicious vanilla wafers nestled in between each layer, certainly makes for the best dessert choice after a good meal or even as a quick "pick me up" snack.
Mix together the ice cold water, vanilla pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk until thick, about 10 minutes on medium-high speed. **NOTE: The mixture should look like pudding**. Finally, add in vanilla extract and mix for another minute or so.
Gently fold in the homemade whipped cream (or Cool Whip) into the pudding mixture using a spatula until, well incorporated. Add pinch of cinnamon and stir in.
In a trifle bowl (or your favorite dish), layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, and pudding mixture; repeat layering until all ingredients have been used.
Garnish top with remaining vanilla wafers (some crushed, some whole). Refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes before serving. Best if chilled overnight.
HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM: In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the heavy cream (3 cups), using the whisk attachment for 4-5 minutes, until fluffy peaks begin to form. **NOTE: When it begins to thicken after the first 2-3 minutes, gradually add in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt.** Once fully fluffy, remove from mixer bowl and continue recipe.
STORAGE: Keep leftovers tightly sealed and refrigerated. Best if consumed within 3 days.