Banana pudding is, I think, by definition low brow. Anything with cool whip and nilla wafers is not going to qualify as haute cuisine. But isn't it good? The IBM cafeteria on Davis Drive excels at old-fashioned banana pudding with nilla wafers and meringue every Wednesday. It's reason enough to get a job there.
I'm not a huge fan of nilla wafers. I think my mom tried to pawn them off on me as "cookies" when I was a kid. Nilla wafer does not satify the cookie craving. So imagine my delight to find a banana pudding recipe with Pepperidge Farm chess men instead! It is a recipe by a Southern superstar chef, the inestimably charming Paula Dean.
Her recipe is called "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding Recipe," and indeed it is not! A friend gave it to me and it is published on the Food Network web site.
This recipe breaks all of my rules in terms of organic and local ingredients. It contains (*gasp*) instant pudding, sweetened condensed milk and (OMG!) cool whip. I'd never bought cool whip before! The secret ingredient is Philadelphia cream cheese. By the way, for any recipe calling for cream cheese, use Philly. It is superior. I do not know why.
Not only did numerous people tell me that it was the best banana pudding they'd ever eaten but also it made enough to feed an army. So, here is a link to Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding by Paula Dean.