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. Â 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. Â Then they are preserved for a new period of time. Â I am not a neurobiologist, but I’m pretty sure that this is how it works. Â 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. Â You can confirm that 28 year time period with your “science” if you like. Â 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. Â But I remember loving the banana ones. Â And my friend Beth remembers that there was something printed on the popsicle sticks. Â Was it a contest? Â A fortune? Â 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. Â 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. Â It would be equally good with any flavor of pudding (chocolate, caramel, etc.) or with any type of fruit pureed into it. Â Strawberries would be great. Â But that’s not how Bill envisioned it. Â 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. Â 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. Â In a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the milk, half and half, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Â 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. Â Remove from heat immediately and stir in butter and vanilla extract.
2. Â Pour pudding mixture into the bowl of a food processor and add mashed bananas. Â Process until completely smooth, scraping down sides as necessary (and being careful to let steam from the hot pudding escape). Â Pour pudding into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours until completely hardened. Â (These will keep a few days, at least, in the freezer.)