The first time I ever had Banana Pudding was when I was 21 years old. I have half sisters in Bakersfield, CA and hadn't seen them since I was about 14. I was invited to attend a Dawson Family Reunion by my sister Shirley. We are closest in age and had renewed our relationship in recent months prior to the reunion. I lived about 4 hours north of Bakersfield but it was worth the trip to get to meet a lot of relatives of my deceased father for the first time and maybe learn more about the rich history of the Dawson Family.
I ate this "banana puddin' " someone had brought to the reunion and was in instant heaven! I immediately set out to make this my recipe. I tweeked it and changed it a bit here and there but it's still good ole' banana puddin'...! I named it Dawson's Delight for the reunion and my delight at eating it!
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 (4-serving) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
36 vanilla wafers
3 medium bananas, sliced (toss with lemon juice to keep from turning brown)
Whisk sweetened condensed milk and water in large bowl. Add pudding mix. Whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Chill 5 minutes. Fold in whipped cream.
SPOON 1 cup pudding mixture into 2 1/2-quart glass serving bowl. Top with one-third each of the vanilla wafers, bananas and remaining pudding. Repeat layering twice, ending with pudding mixture.
CHILL thoroughly. Garnish as directed below.
2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 1/4 cup sugar,1 teaspoon vanilla
Before serving pudding, put dollops of whipped cream in a pattern on the top of the pudding, sprinkle with the sliced almonds then drizzle the chocolate syrup in a thin stream over the entire pudding.
OPTIONAL: I like to put a maraschino cherry with stem on top of each dollop of whipped cream, it just adds color to the dish making it more festive looking.