In a large mixing bowl, combine pudding mix and cold milk. Whisk until mixed thoroughly and the mixture starts to get thick. Add the vanilla extract, condensed milk (is using) and mix well. Set aside to thicken.
Prep the Bananas & Whipped Cream:
Combine the sliced bananas with lemon juice and set aside.
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine heavy cream with the confectioners sugar. Whip it using a whisk or a hand blender until soft peaks form.
Layer the Dessert:
Spread some pudding on the bottom of the individual glasses or in a large trifle bowl. Top with a layer of vanilla wafers and a layer of banana slices. Continue layering with custard, wafers and banana. Top the banana pudding with the whipped cream and crushed vanilla wafers. Serve right away or chill for couple hours. Chilling helps in softening the cookies and makes them cakey.
Feel free to use either vanilla (French vanilla) or banana flavored instant pudding mix.
Since this banana pudding has no eggs to thicken, using whole milk to make the custard gives the best creamy texture.
You can use non-dairy milk as well. I recommend using unsweetened oat milk or almond milk.
DO NO skip the tossing of bananas with lemon/ lime juice. This ensures that the bananas stay fresh and do not discolor.
Dessert can be assembled up to 2 days in advance.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.