My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Banana Pudding Trifle

Banana Pudding Trifle. This is a very easy, very casual recipe that is always a hit at our casual BBQs. Traditionally it is usually made with either vanilla wafers or pound cake....but since I needed to make it gluten free...I have tweaked the recipe just a little so that everyone can enjoy it! The great thing about this recipe is that you can purchase gluten free cookies or cake for convenience or you can make it from scratch. Both ways are delicious! For today's recipe, it was made from scratch so I have included my recipes for everything homemade but also listed substitutions for store-bought items that make this dessert super easy to make!

Okay, confession time! The main reason I made this recipe for the Memorial Day BBQ was because I was making a gluten free vanilla cake birthday cake (zombie style!) and I was too impatient to wait for the cake to cool in the pan before removing it so it crumbled. Rather than waste it, (I am pretty good at recycling my "rejects") I crumbled up the entire cake and decided to make the banana pudding trifle with it since I had all the ingredients to make it.

My mom always made this recipe using cooked vanilla pudding rather than instant so that is what I prefer. However, I have friends that make it using instant vanilla pudding. You can make homemade pudding or you can use a store bought pudding mix. (I have included the recipe for homemade cooked vanilla pudding below in case you want to try it). I know a lot of people are thinking..."why in the world would you want to make home-made pudding mix when you can run to the store and get a box of mix?!" BUT...I grew up about 20 minutes outside of town and it wasn't convenient to run into town to purchase just a couple of things so my mom made do with what she had on hand. (A good cook follows a recipe but an EXCELLENT cook will improvise with what is available!) I will tell you that you can absolutely make this recipe WITHOUT the powdered milk but you will lose a little of the rich flavor so just add a little extra vanilla extract. I have friends that make a wonderful cooked pudding made with milk, sugar, cornstarch and a cinnamon stick - it does not contain powdered milk. It is one of my favorites! If you have an allergy to cornstarch or dairy then you can substitute tapioca starch and use a non-dairy substitute for the milk. If you do not have a gluten allergy then you can use regular cake or cookies in place of gluten free items!

Banana Pudding Trifle Recipe:
  • 16 oz. Cool Whip topping (or you can use whipping cream prepared)
  • 4 large bananas, ripe but not mushy
  • 2 regular size boxes of cook & serve vanilla pudding mix, prepared (or use my homemade recipe below)
  • 1 gluten free cake (9x13 size), crumbled or cubed OR substitute 1 box of gluten free animal cookies or sugar cookies crushed or 1 box of gluten free graham cracker crumbs
Prepare your 9x13 vanilla cake recipe (you can use my recipe below or you can purchase a store bought gluten free mix). Crumble after cake has cooled. If you prefer a quicker method then you can just use crushed gluten free cookies like the animal cookies, sugar cookies or graham cracker crumbs which you can find at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Military Commissary and select grocery stores.

Prepare your pudding mix according to directions. Cover or stir frequently as it cools so it doesn't get a "skin" on it. Once it is cooled, Stir in 1 cup of the Cool Whip to give the pudding a nice light texture.

Sprinkle half of the cake or cookie crumbs into a trifle bowl or large glass bowl. Layer half of the pudding onto the crumbs. Slice up the bananas and layer half of them on the pudding. Put about 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip on top of the bananas. Repeat layers ending with Cool Whip on Top. I had a tiny bit of the crumbs left so I sprinkled on top of the Cool Whip for decoration but you don't need to do that. Refrigerate until serving. (If your trifle bowl is a little smaller and you have leftovers...BONUS! Just layer in wine glasses or mason jars so you can enjoy it later after everyone goes home!)

Homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix
(This recipe makes several batches so store the remainder that you don't use with a label & instructions in an empty glass jar or ziplock bag).
  • 1 cup powdered milk (you can substitute an unflavored non-dairy creamer like Coffee Mate) or just leave this out if you don't have it on hand - just add more vanilla extract when cooking.
  • 1 cup corn starch or tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup sugar (if you use raw sugar or brown sugar you will get more of a caramel flavor)
I usually put in the blender to blend it all together really fine but you can just stir it really well. Store in glass jar or ziplock bag until ready to use.

To prepare one batch (equivalent to a regular size box) you will need:
1/2 cup pudding mix
2 cups milk or non-dairy substitute (not powdered milk - liquid milk!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste or butter vanilla baking emulsion

Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and let it cool. Either place a lid or cover on the pan or stir frequently as it is cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top. NOTE: The recipe for the banana pudding trifle requires two boxes so you will need to use 1 cup pudding mix, 4 cups milk + 2 tsp. vanilla extract to have enough!

Vanilla Cake Recipe: (or if you prefer a pound cake then see my recipe posted August 2012)
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I like Trader Joe brand or my recipe below). I do not like to use any flour mix that contains sorghum in my sweet baked goods. It gives it a weird after taste.
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum (only use this if your flour mix does not contain it or guar gum)
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. custard powder or vanilla pudding mix (this gives the gluten free flour a nice heavy texture similar to regular flour for baked goods)
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 2/3 cup melted butter or Crisco (if you substitute margarine: make sure it is 65% fat or it won't rise correctly!). Make sure the melted butter is slightly cooled.
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (you can substitute rice milk, soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk). Water can work in a pinch but the milk will give the white cake a nice moist texture and flavor that water can't. Even diluted non-dairy coffee creamer will work!)
  • 2 tsp. butter vanilla flavor baking emulsion. (I get it at Hobby Lobby in the cake decorating department or sometimes I can find it at Home Goods or TJ Maxx in their food section). This will give the cake a fabulous flavor. However, if you don't have the butter vanilla baking emulsion then just substitute vanilla extract. (Don't forget to go online to and print out your 40% off coupon to use on the baking emulsion!)
  • 2 eggs or 4 egg whites 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9x13 pan OR two 8 or 9" cake pans. Combine the gluten free flour, xanthan gum if it isn't already in your gluten free flour mix, baking powder, salt, custard powder or pudding mix and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add milk and melted butter (or Crisco or margarine). Add the butter vanilla emulsion. Beat for 2-3 minutes on high speed. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched or toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs). Bake two 9" pans for 22-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs. (Oven temperatures and altitude can affect baking times so check at the lowest cooking time and adjust. You may need to bake longer). 9x13 pan you will need to bake about 35-45 minutes. 

My Homemade Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour (I used sweet rice flour for this batch)
  • 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (made from sticky rice, gluten free)
  • 1 cup potato starch (not flour)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk, make sure it is very fine in texture
  • 1 cup corn starch or tapioca starch (I used corn starch for this batch)
  • 3 tbs. xanthan gum
Combine all ingredients together well. You can put it in the blender for an extra smooth texture if desired. I store mine in a glass container and use it in place of regular flour in all my recipes. This particular blend I really like for baked sweet goods. (A friend of mine that has a dairy problem used non-dairy creamer powder in place of the powdered milk and said it worked just fine!)

Up close view of banana pudding trifle

Hope you enjoy this very casual dessert! My family loves it! It feels like a step back into the 1970s when I eat this pudding dessert! People seem to have gotten away from pudding desserts but they are so easy and many of the desserts are gluten free or can be converted easily to gluten free!

Gluten Free Casually

1 comment:

  1. You can use a gluten free cake mix for this recipe too!