Strawberry Banana Trifle with Vanilla Bean Pudding

Here's what you need:

-(2) baked 9-in round cakes (bigger or smaller depending on the diameter of your bowl)

-1 lb of fresh strawberries, sliced

-4 C ripe bananas, sliced

-2 TBS lemon juice


Pudding:

-(1) 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

-(1) 3.4 oz box of instant vanilla pudding (I like Jello brand best)

-1 1/2 C ice cold water

-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

-1 Madagascar vanilla bean (sliced and vanilla caviar removed)

-4 C heavy cream, 1 C reserved after whipping


1. In a small mixing bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, cold water and vanilla and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute until well-combined. Add the pudding mix and continue beating for 2 more minutes. Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and then use the back of a butter knife to scrape out of the vanilla beans.  Add vanilla bean paste and beat until combine. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight. It's important to allow plenty of time for the pudding to set up so that the consistency stays when you fold in the cream. 


2. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold cream (except one cup) into chilled pudding mixture until color is mainly uniform with no white streaks in the pudding. Be careful avoid over-mixing. 


3. Prepare fruit and slice. Toss sliced bananas with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Place first cake layer in the trifle bowl. Place bananas and strawberries right up against the glass all the way around (just for aesthetic purposes). Spoon pudding mixture on top of cake. Add a layer of strawberries and bananas on top of pudding. Repeat with the next layer of cake, put fruit up against the glass, spoon in a layer of pudding, another layer of bananas and berries, etc. Once trifle bowl is full, cover the top with the reserved whipped cream.


4. Make a decorative pattern on top of whipped cream. I like to use a pattern just with strawberries so that the bananas don't go brown when prepping ahead of time.