No-Bake Berry Berry Tasty Pudding Recipe

Looking for a recipe to bring to your next summer cookout gathering? Classic banana pudding with vanilla wafers is always a hit, but what if we gave it a bright summery twist? Substituting the banana for a mix of fresh summer berries adds a burst of juicy sweet-tart fruit flavor to the traditional recipe. The creamy, rich pudding starts to soften the crisp vanilla wafer cookies, leading to a soft, spoonable texture that gets better as it sits. Top the whole dish with blended freeze-dried fruit to give it a gorgeous, colorful finish.

Recipe developer Taylor Murray brings us this delicious berries-and-cream dessert, which is best served straight from the refrigerator. "This recipe is a hit whenever I bring it to a party. I make it the night before so the flavors have plenty of time to meld and soften," says Murray. The best part about this recipe? No need to turn on the oven when the weather outside is already heating up your kitchen. 

Gather the ingredients for no-bake berry berry tasty pudding

Since we aren't using bananas, we'll need to start with an assortment of ripe berries. If you want, you can use entirely one type of berry, such as strawberries, or use any mix that you prefer. For this recipe, we used strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. The berries are macerated in a mix of lemon juice and sugar to get them nice and juicy. 

Next, the classic vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nilla. The creamy pudding base is made from a mix of whipped heavy cream, cold milk, sweetened condensed milk, mascarpone cheese for richness, and a packet of French vanilla pudding mix. Finally, the dessert is topped with freeze-dried fruit, blended to a powder in a blender.

Step 1: Prepare the berries

Slice or hull the berries as needed depending on their size.

Step 2: Macerate the berries

In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice, mashing slightly with a spoon.

Step 3: Chill the fruit

Refrigerate the fruit until the rest of the dessert is ready.

Step 4: Beat the mascarpone

Meanwhile, add mascarpone to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth.

Step 5: Add the sweetened condensed milk

Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk until fully incorporated.

Step 6: Add the pudding mix

Add the pudding mix and beat until incorporated.

Step 7: Add the milk

Slowly add the milk, stopping often to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Step 8: Chill the mix

Cover the pudding mixture and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours and up to 5.

Step 9: Whip the cream

Whip the cream to stiff peaks.

Step 10: Fold in the cream

Fold the cream into the chilled pudding mixture.

Step 11: Add the fruit to a baking dish

To assemble, add the fruit to a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Step 12: Add the cookies

Top with a layer of wafer cookies.

Step 13: Add a layer of pudding

Spread a thin layer of pudding mixture over the cookies.

Step 14: Top with cookies

Top with another layer of cookies.

Step 15: Top with the remaining pudding

Finish with the remaining pudding mixture, smoothing top to finish.

Step 16: Blend the freeze-dried fruit

In a blender, grind the freeze-dried berries to a fine powder.

Step 17: Dust fruit powder over the pudding

Transfer the powder to a sieve and dust over the baking dish. Alternatively, separate the three kinds of freeze-dried berries and grind them individually, then dust over the pudding one by one to form a gradient.

Step 18: Chill the pudding before serving

Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours and up to 12 before serving.

Can this berry pudding be made in advance?

Not only can this berry vanilla pudding be made in advance, it gets much better after chilling for a while. One of the hallmarks of a classic banana pudding is that the vanilla wafer cookies soften from the moisture in the pudding mixture. If you are planning to bring this dish to a midday gathering, it's best to make it the day or night before. That way, the berries will have plenty of time to macerate and the pudding mixture to soften the cookies.

For best results visually, wait to dust the freeze-dried fruit powder on until just before serving, or as close as possible to still be convenient. "Freeze-dried fruit is especially susceptible to moisture and its texture will noticeably change," says Murray. If this isn't possible, don't worry. The flavor will still be great and the dish won't suffer too much visually.

What can I use instead of vanilla wafers in berry pudding?

If you need an easy swap for vanilla wafers in this berry pudding recipe, there are several great choices that will work depending on the texture and flavor you desire. Graham crackers are a popular choice and offer a sweet and slightly honeyed taste that goes well with berries. For a nuttier flavor, you might consider almond cookies or biscotti, which perfectly complement the ripe berries, and also add a delightful crunch because they won't soften quite as much. 

If you prefer something with a buttery richness, shortbread cookies are an excellent option. Gingersnaps would add a spiced, gingery kick that could be an interesting twist on the classic recipe. Another change from the original flavor profile could be to swap the vanilla wafers with peanut butter sandwich cookies, to create a hint of the ever-popular PB&J combination. If you need a healthier twist or to avoid gluten, oatmeal cookies or gluten-free cookies can absolutely be used. 

No-Bake Berry Berry Tasty Pudding Recipe
4.9 from 11 ratings
Bring a bright, summery burst of tart-sweet fresh berry flavor to a traditional vanilla wafer & pudding dessert with this special berries-and-cream version.
Prep Time
7.5
hours
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
12
Servings
Tray of no-bake berry pudding
Total time: 7 hours, 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 6 cups mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 3 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 (11-ounce) box vanilla wafer cookies (such as Nilla)
  • 1 cup freeze-dried berries
Directions
  1. Slice or hull the berries as needed depending on their size.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice, mashing slightly with a spoon.
  3. Refrigerate the fruit until the rest of the dessert is ready.
  4. Meanwhile, add mascarpone to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth.
  5. Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk until fully incorporated.
  6. Add the pudding mix and beat until incorporated.
  7. Slowly add the milk, stopping often to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  8. Cover the pudding mixture and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours and up to 5.
  9. Whip the cream to stiff peaks.
  10. Fold the cream into the chilled pudding mixture.
  11. To assemble, add the fruit to a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  12. Top with a layer of wafer cookies.
  13. Spread a thin layer of pudding mixture over the cookies.
  14. Top with another layer of cookies.
  15. Finish with the remaining pudding mixture, smoothing top to finish.
  16. In a blender, grind the freeze-dried berries to a fine powder.
  17. Transfer the powder to a sieve and dust over the baking dish. Alternatively, separate the three kinds of freeze-dried berries and grind them individually, then dust over the pudding one by one to form a gradient.
  18. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours and up to 12 before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 599
Total Fat 36.4 g
Saturated Fat 21.0 g
Trans Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 103.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 63.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Total Sugars 48.2 g
Sodium 265.1 mg
Protein 8.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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