Happy July Fourth! I have a little something for you. Just a trifle, really....
I call this beautifully cool dish my Banana Berry Trifle. A variation of the recipe was presented to me this spring by my loving Aunt K who carefully took down the recipe from my Grandmother's sister, Maxine. I was unbelievably excited to have such a winner of a recipe from Great Aunt Maxine, considering I've adored her since I was young. (We share the same passions, being pianists and readers alike. I'm still devastatingly envious of Great Aunt Maxine's Nancy Drew collection, which features all of the original 1950-ish titles.)
Anyway. Before I post or publish a recipe, I always try to do a little checking and background hunting. After all, you want to be absolutely sure your secret family recipe isn't one copied directly from an Ina Garten cookbook or something. And as these things go, this moistly-crumbed, cool custard-y dish was a copy. (Gasp) I found an exact reproduction here. It's a Paula Deen.
So my best to Aunt K, Great Aunt Maxine, and accent queen Paula Deen. But my version's even better. It's packed with antioxidant-rich berries, a touch of nutmeg and vanilla, and is especially great for those who never, ever cook. I mean, never ever cook. This is simple, fast and summery and altogether perfect for the days you're required to show up with something fabulous and can't bring yourself to turn on the oven.
BANANA BERRY TRIFLE
2 cups cold milk
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. grated nutmeg
1 (8 oz.) carton Cool Whip, thawed
1 pint fresh blueberries, sorted and rinsed
1 pint fresh raspberries, sorted and rinsed
3 bananas, sliced
1 bag Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies
In a large bowl, combine pudding mix and milk and beat according to package directions. In a separate bowl, whip together room temperature cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in vanilla and nutmeg. Add cream cheese mixture to pudding and carefully fold in thawed Cool Whip.
Using any dish of your choice, (I used a glass Pyrex bowl yesterday but at home I have a Trifle Bowl for these concoctions), spoon a ladle full of pudding mixture into the bottom of the dish. Layer cookies over the thin layer of pudding and top with a layer of pudding. Cover with half of the banana slices, blueberries and raspberries. Top with layer of pudding. Repeat. Finish with a layer of pudding topped with fruit. Garnish with additional Cool Whip or whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg, if desired.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or until ready to serve. Keeps for a weekend in the refrigerator if you can hide all the spoons in the house and padlock the refrigerator.
(By the way, I traditionally make my version of this trifle with homemade vanilla bean pudding, but as I'm at a friend's this weekend I used boxed pudding mix. Still delicious. Oh. And I made this trifle with skim milk and fat free everything, save the cookies. Now I can sit on the couch all afternoon watching movies and not feel a bit guilty.)
Churchill was right, you know: all the great things are simple. Like bananas and berries. And our freedom. Especially our freedom. It's no trifle of a thing. May we all quickly awaken to the consequences of taking both for granted.
Happy Independence Day! -Brin