Sliced strawberries give this iconic southern treat a refreshing zing and a shot of color. The pudding needs to be refrigerated to set, so it's a great recipe to make a night in advance.
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla beans and pod. Gradually whisk in milk until cornstarch has dissolved; whisk in yolks.
Cook over medium, whisking constantly, until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent skin from forming; let cool completely.
Cut bananas crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Combine cream and confectioners' sugar in a bowl; whisk until stiff peaks form.
Spoon one-third of pudding into a large glass bowl. Layer half of cookies, slightly overlapping, followed by half of bananas and half of strawberries. Spread one-third of whipped cream over fruit. Repeat layering of pudding, cookies, fruit, and whipped cream. Gently spread with remaining pudding; top with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or, covered, up to overnight. Garnish with whole berries before serving.