Matthew, and consequently the rest of us, is now officially composting. Paul and Matthew sat through a three hour lecture on the benefits of recycling and composting and then were gifted at the end with a composting kit. Matthew was the youngest person at the lecture by about 20 years and having him there was a definite lesson in patience for Paul but they survived and came home all pumped up to begin making some fancy soil! I have to admit that it was super adorable to listen to Matthew spout off all the things that can and cannot be composted. Every time I ask him to throw away one of Lucy's diapers for me, he reminds me: "Diapers do not go in the composter, Mom!"
He's pretty proud of it! Emma, on the other hand, just wants to climb it. Although lately, she has even been getting more into it by insisting on throwing each and every leaf she picks off a strawberry into "the little composter" - her affectionate title for the coffee can we store under the kitchen sink and put compostable items into before dumping them into the actual composter outside.
I try to continually tell Matthew how proud I am of his interest in recycling, composting, and keeping our earth beautiful. He has really inspired both me and Paul to be vigilant about recycling - something that we were not really all that strict about before. Now, we are constantly checking labels for that tell-tale recycle symbol and our recycling containers are always overflowing in trash day now. I'm a little ashamed that it took my six-year-old to motivate me to be a more conscientious consumer, but I am so proud of him for it! It shows that as parents sometimes our role is not only to teach our kids, but to learn from them as well!
The recipe I am sharing today is a great one for composting. Banana peels are one of the best things to throw in your composter. They break down beautifully and add some rich nutrients to that wonderful dirt! This recipe for Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding requires peeling quite a few bananas - but that is pretty much the most laborious part! Vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and bananas are layered together in a trifle dish and allowed to chill for just a bit so the vanilla wafers start to soften and form an almost cake-like consistency. Deceptively simple at first glance, this creamy, dreamy dessert is so satisfying, rich, and light that you won't even blink before eating half the bowl. It is a perfect dish to bring for a summer potluck.
This recipe comes from Magnolia Bakery, a New York City-based venue that is famous for its cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, specialty cakes, and cheesecake. They also offer an extensive selection of icebox desserts of which this Banana Pudding is the most famous. Surprisingly, the recipe employs only pantry ingredients for the most part and really has nothing overly fancy. But oh my, it's good. If I ever make that much-desired trek to NYC, one of the many, many bakeries on my list to visit and pay homage is Magnolia Bakery. In the meantime, I can recreate a few of their treats at home - like this one - because they have a gorgeous cookbook. If you are in search of a gorgeous baking book, I highly recommend this one!
Magnolia Bakery's Famous Banana Pudding
from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1½ cups ice cold water
1 (3.4 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
4 cups sliced ripe bananas
1 (12 oz.) box Nilla Wafers
In a large bowl, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined about 1
minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or
overnight. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set. It will be watery if you don't let it set up long enough.
In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until no streaks of pudding remain.
To assemble the dessert, select a large wide glass bowl or trifle bowl with 4-5 quart capacity. Arrange ⅓ of the Nilla wafers covering the bottom, overlapping if necessary. Next, layer ½ of the bananas,
and ⅓ of the pudding mixture. Repeat twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer. Cover tightly and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours, no longer.