Maybe it’s been the heat, or my lack of air conditioning during the heat, but I’ve been thinking about Jell-O Banana Pudding Pops lately. I generally believe that the entirely random thoughts that breeze through our brains are on their way to the discard pile — unless we pay attention to them. Then they are preserved for a new period of time. I am not a neurobiologist, but I’m pretty sure that this is how it works. And I think that the period of time is approximately 28 years, because there is no way I’ve enjoyed a Pudding Pop since I was about 10 or 11. You can confirm that 28 year time period with your “science” if you like. But I prefer to trust Bill Cosby.
So, I actually sort of forgot that Jell-O Banana Pudding Pops even existed (and how much I loved them), but I did confirm with the Internet and it is clear that I did not dream this. There were multiple flavors — chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate-vanilla swirl at the basic level. But I remember loving the banana ones. And my friend Beth remembers that there was something printed on the popsicle sticks. Was it a contest? A fortune? We clearly let go of that piece of factual information sometime in college when we were killing brain cells with ridiculous amounts of Yuengling Lager. Anyone else remember? Or have more energy than I do to perform a Google search to find out? Good for you.
When I decided to replicate the pudding pops, every recipe that I found (surprise!) started out with Jell-O Pudding. This is all well and good — but it’s not really recipe worthy. So I made a simple homemade vanilla pudding and then pureed ripe bananas into it. It would be equally good with any flavor of pudding (chocolate, caramel, etc.) or with any type of fruit pureed into it. Strawberries would be great. But that’s not how Bill envisioned it. So I’m sticking with an original flavor.
It’s not an original method because I made it from scratch, but I think Bill would be OK with it because we generally agree on most topics. Namely, Donald Trump.
Banana Pudding Popsicles
Makes about 12 popsicles (or 4 cups of pudding)
1 cup milk (I had 2%)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
2 T butter
2 t vanilla extract
3 bananas, ripe and mashed
1. In a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the milk, half and half, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly (and scraping out corners of pan with a spatula to get any trapped parts), for about 5-7 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat immediately and stir in butter and vanilla extract.
2. Pour pudding mixture into the bowl of a food processor and add mashed bananas. Process until completely smooth, scraping down sides as necessary (and being careful to let steam from the hot pudding escape). Pour pudding into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours until completely hardened. (These will keep a few days, at least, in the freezer.)