OLD-FASHIONED SOUTHERN BANANA PUDDIN'
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender container; cover and blend at medium speed for 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to the top of a double boiler; cook, stirring frequently, over boiling water until thickened and bubbly hot. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool.
Line the bottom and sides of a buttered 2-quart casserole (or lightly coated with butter-flavored non-caloric vegetable cooking spray) with vanilla wafers or lady finger halves or sponge or pound cake squares. Peel and thinly slice bananas and arrange a layer of sliced bananas in the prepared casserole dish. Spoon one-half of the cooled pudding over the banana layer in dish. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of pudding. Cool thoroughly and then chill until ready to serve.
To serve, garnish with sweetened flavored whipped cream or other whipped topping, if desired
Note: May omit half-an-half; use 4 cups milk or reduced-fat or skim milk. However, the flavor will not be as rich.
Variations: Add some chunky pieces of semi-sweet or milk chocolate to the cooled pudding.
Add segments of clementines to the cooled pudding.
Add toasted coconut to the cooled pudding; or, sprinkle the top of the pudding with toasted coconut or chopped pecans or English walnuts.