Friday, June 14, 2013

Strawberry Banana Trifle with Vanilla Bean Pudding

I'm not usually a trifle kind-of-gal, but this recipe has converted me. Thanks to my sweet cousin, Emily, for sharing this recipe. Trifles are fun to make because they look pretty and you can use your favorite fresh fruit. My favorite is strawberry banana. If you missed my post on how I created a Patriotic Trifle for the 4th of July, you can  read about it here. There are so many ways you can make a trifle, so use your creativity.

Oh my gosh. You have not experience a trifle until you've had this one. The vanilla bean pudding is so delicious that you will come back for seconds and thirds. The first time I made it my husband about died when he tasted it. I don't think my husband has ever asked to lick a bowl or the beaters in our 5 1/2 years of marriage, except when I made this pudding.

The pudding is made with sweetened condensed milk so it has a slight caramel, banana-ish flavor when mixed with the boxed pudding. It totally goes amazing with strawberries and bananas. If you read my post about the Patriotic Trifle, I mentioned my husband is allergic to bananas. I have made this with just strawberries before and it is really yummy also.  Just when you think the pudding can't be any more delicious and incredible, just add some vanilla bean paste to it. It's outta this world! And I love seeing those lovely little black flecks in the pudding. It seems so fancy to me. :)

I've told you about the place where I buy my vanilla beans. I mainly use Madagascar vanilla beans since they are the most versatile bean in baking, but the Tahitian beans are also incredible. If you want to try out the Madagascar beans, they are on sale right now! This is the best price I've seen and you get free shipping! Check out the sale over at Beanilla. AND some lucky person is going to win some lovely, gourmet Madagascar beans in my upcoming giveaway sponsored by Beanilla. Stay tuned!

Back to the trifle...You can use your favorite cake although I'm partial to a vanilla sponge cake, yellow or angel food cake. You can either cube a 9x13 cake or use (2) 8" or (2) 9" round cakes whole (depending on the shape and size of your trifle bowl) for a quick assembly of the trifle.

I don't recommend assembling the trifle any sooner than a few hours before you want to serve it as the bananas tend to go a little brown and watery even when coated with citrus juice). However; you can prep the cakes (freeze them) and the pudding a few days in advance. The pudding needs at least 3-4 hours to set up properly, so make sure you take that into account when making this. Make sure to keep your trifle refrigerated until right before you serve it.

Here's what you need:
-(2) baked 9-in round cakes (bigger or smaller depending on the diameter of your bowl)
-1 lb of fresh strawberries, sliced
-4 C ripe bananas, sliced
-2 TBS lemon juice

-(1) 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
-(1) 3.4 oz box of instant vanilla pudding (I like Jello brand best)
-1 1/2 C ice cold water
-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-1 Madagascar vanilla bean (sliced and vanilla caviar removed)
-4 C heavy cream, 1 C reserved after whipping

1. In a small mixing bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, cold water and vanilla and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute until well-combined. Add the pudding mix and continue beating for 2 more minutes. Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and then use the back of a butter knife to scrape out of the vanilla beans.  Add vanilla bean paste and beat until combine. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight. It's important to allow plenty of time for the pudding to set up so that the consistency stays when you fold in the cream.

Vanilla Bean Caviar. Delicious!

2. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold cream (except one cup) into chilled pudding mixture until color is mainly uniform with no white streaks in the pudding. Be careful avoid over-mixing. 

3. Prepare fruit and slice. Toss sliced bananas with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Place first cake layer in the trifle bowl. Place bananas and strawberries right up against the glass all the way around (just for aesthetic purposes). Spoon pudding mixture on top of cake. Add a layer of strawberries and bananas on top of pudding. Repeat with the next layer of cake, put fruit up against the glass, spoon in a layer of pudding, another layer of bananas and berries, etc. Once trifle bowl is full, cover the top with the reserved whipped cream.

4. Make a decorative pattern on top of whipped cream. I like to use a pattern just with strawberries so that the bananas don't go brown when prepping ahead of time. 

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Here's the printable recipe.