It’s March 2nd – Happy Banana Cream Pie Day, dear reader!
I am not a big fan of baked good. I rarely eat cookies or muffins. I don’t like cheesecake (gasp!) or tiramisu. I don’t like cannolis or baklava. I’ll have the smallest piece of cake if someone is celebrating a birthday. And don’t get me started on doughnuts…
However, pie is alright. I don’t love it… I like it.
When it comes to fruit pies, I like cherry pie the best. But apple pie and blueberry pie are also at the top of my list. Those tastes always satisfy my sweet tooth. I also adore my father’s lemon meringue pie and his butterscotch pie; those are the tastes of my childhood, and I will share those recipes down the road. Acadian tarte au sucre, or sugar pie, is my seventh love language; I received a fantastic, authentic recipe from my childhood babysitter Raelyn, whose grandmother used to make it, and she was pleased to hand it down to me, since her grandfather Charles was one of my favourite people in the world and I was always at the house, sneaking treats, chopping firewood, or playing with their German Shepherd, Blitz. My daughter Charlotte’s nickname Charley is to honour “my third grandpa”.
But forget all that… I’m not talking about those pies today. I’m taking about banana cream pie, a pie that I have actually never tasted. Until today. When I made it.
This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!Gwen Stefani
How can that be? How can I have lived and have never tasted banana cream pie? Well, the truth is, I don’t really like bananas. I mean, I will have a bite or two of a banana if it’s in a fruit salad (which it shouldn’t be) or if it’s dipped in chocolate fondue. But there’s always another option for pie if you’re at a restaurant and want dessert, and one of my faves usually gets chosen. Also, you have to be careful with cream pies because the custard is sometimes too “eggy” which is gross. And I hate coconut cream pie because coconuts are gross. But today I realized that banana cream pie and coconut cream pie are the same on the inside; both have vanilla custard filling, but the toppings are different. Who knew?
So I was scrolling through social media this morning and noticed that today was National Banana Cream Pie Day and thought I should try out something new in the kitchen. It didn’t seem that complicated. I decided to go with a graham cracker crust instead of a traditional pie crust because 1) I was lazy and 2) I cannot make pie crust to save my life. I am not a baker. I try and fail all the time. I could have used a lovely pre-made crust but opted for the sweeter graham crust.
I was so nervous to make the vanilla custard though, because I had to make sure the eggs didn’t scramble as I added them to the hot liquid. I learned about tempering:
In cooking, tempering is the process of combining two ingredients of radically different temperatures. The two ingredients are slowly combined so they both gradually rise to the same temperature. Certain recipes require tempering, otherwise the shock of combining the two all at once could run the risk of the mixture curdling, seizing, lumping, or splitting. Tempering is commonly used when making sauces (adding liquid to roux), or when making ice cream and custards.https://rouxbe.com/tips-techniques/318-what-is-tempering
I was a bit nervous about doing it all wrong and ending up with vanilla scrambled eggs. But I poured a glass of wine and took a big swig and said, “Let’s do this!” And I nailed it!
I made the crust and decided to cook it for 10 minutes. Then I let it cool. Meanwhile, I made the custard. Worked perfectly. I poured it into the cooled crust and covered it with cling wrap, so the custard wouldn’t form a skin, and put it in the fridge for 4 hours.
After having leftover lasagne for dinner, I surprised my family with this beauty for dessert:
So the crust was a bit firm, but everyone said it tasted great. And the pie sliced beautifully. Making it again, I’d whip my own cream instead of using a can of prepared whipped cream; it melted pretty quickly. I had the smallest sliver because, you know, I don’t do baked goods. The girls and Steve dug into their pie with gusto! I ate the custard and marvelled over how I had made it perfectly on my first try. I scraped off most of my bananas and fed them to Willow. She loved them!
Banana Cream Pie
For the graham crust:
- 1.5 cups graham crumbs
- 3 Tbsp brown sigar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
For the custard/pie:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/3 cups whole milk
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1.5 tsp vanilla
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 large bananas
- whipped cream
1. Preheat oven to 325°F
2. Make the crust. In a bowl, whisk the graham crumbs and sugar to combine.
3. Stir in the melted butter. Stir until incorporated and the crumbs look like damp sand.
4. Spread crumb mixture in lightly greased pie plate. press it in firmly. Bake for 10 minutes. Take out and let cool.
5. Make the custard. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and milk. Heat until hot and bubbly, whisking often. Let boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
6. Temper your eggs. In a small bowl, beat the four eggs. Then, whisk 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into your beaten eggs. Do this slowly and whisk continuously. Then, slowly pour the tempered eggs into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Put the mixture back on the stove and bring it to a boil for one minute, whisking the whole time. It’s really the only way to ensure you get the proper consistency.
7. Remove from heat. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until fully incorporated.
8. Pour custard into prepared crust. Cover with cling wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
9. When ready to serve, slice up your bananas and arrange them on top.
10. Cover the whole pie with whipped cream. Slice and serve immediately.