Monday, February 22, 2010

Birthday Banana Cream Pie

What do you make for someone who doesn't like chocolate?  I could drown happily in a bowl of pure chocolate ice cream, no toppings needed.  I know several of my (crazy) friends dislike chocolate in favor of flavorings like vanilla and caramel.  I don't get it, but my friend Charmie is one of them.  But I know she loves whipped cream, and who doesn't like bananas?  So banana cream pie it was.  Sliced bananas are folded into a pastry cream and spooned into a flaky pie crust, then topped with whipped cream.  This pie is simple but delicious, not too sweet, and has great mouthfeel with clouds of airy cream.  Charmie loved it, and it was her first-ever birthday pie.  Will it be cake or pie on your next birthday?

The pastry cream is made with half and half, eggs, sugar, and cornstarch.  Kind of like a pudding.

I like to strain it to get out any cornstarch lumps or overcooked egg.

And like a pudding, you place plastic wrap directly on top to avoid forming a skin.

A cookie crust was recommended, but I stuck to the flaky cream cheese crust I've been using for pies.

I use and reuse dried beans as my pie weights.  Set in parchment paper, the beans keep the crust from puffing up and sliding down for the first part of prebaking.

The edges were browning, so I got to use my new silicone crust protector.  So much easier than cutting out a foil ring.

Then the bananas are sliced and tossed in orange juice and lemon juice to prevent them from browning.  Rose Levy Beranbaum, whose recipe this is, says the orange juice cuts the intensity of the lemon juice.

The pastry cream is then mixed with some of the whipped cream.

And the bananas are tossed in...

... and spooned into the cooled pie crust.

Spread your whipped cream on top and chill.

Pipe on decorative accents or top with chocolate curls (if you like that stuff).  The photo at the top of the post is actually a mini-version of this one.  All you wives and girlfriends know you have to leave something at home, or he'll ask, "Where's that pie going?"

Banner Banana Cream Pie
From Rose Levy's Beranbaum The Pie and Pastry Bible
Sweet Cookie Tart Crust or Sweet Cream Flaky Pie Crust for a 10-inch pie, prebaked1 generous cup10.75 ounces
13.6 ounces
Freshly squeezed orange juice2 tbs1 ounce
Freshly squeezed lemon juice1 tbs0.5 ounce
6 ripe but firm medium bananas (7 inches long).34 ounces
Heavy cream2 cups16.25 ounces
optional: Cobasan½
rounded tsp
16.25 ounces
Sugar2 tbsabout
0.5 ounce
Pure vanilla extract2 tsp0.25 ounce
Pastry cream (recipe follows)1½ cups11.3 ounces
optional: Creme de Banana.6 ounces

Equipment: A 10-inch pie pan

Make the dough.  (For the recipe I used, go here.  Then roll out, transfer to pan, line with parchment and pie weights, and prebake at 425° for 20 minutes.  Remove parchment and pie weights, and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.)  Roll, shape, and transfer it to the pan and prebake it.  Let cool.

Chill a large bowl for whipping the cream.  In a medium bowl, place the orange and lemon juices.  Peel and slice the bananas ½ inch thick.  You will have almost 4 cups (20.3 ounces).  Add them to the juices and toss lightly to coat them.

In the cold bowl, combine the heavy cream, optional Cobasan, and sugar and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.  Add the vanilla and optional creme de banana and beat until stiff peaks form.

Remove ¼ cup of the whipped cream and fold it into the cold pastry cream.

Drain the bananas and dry them on paper towels.  Gently fold them into the pastry cream mixture.  Scrape the mixture into the prepared pie shell.

Mound the remaining whipped cream on the surface of the pie, using a rubber spatula to make generous swirls.

If desired, using a wooden skewer to lift them, gently place chocolate curls on the whipped cream.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Store refrigerated, up to 1 day.

Pastry Cream
From Rose Levy's Beranbaum The Pie and Pastry Bible
2 large eggs3 fluid ounces3.5 ounches without shells
Cornstarch3 tbs1 ounce
Half-and-half2 liquid cups8.5 ounces
Sugar.34 ounces
Heavy cream½ cup3.5 ounces
Vanilla bean, split lengthwise
(or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
2-inch piece.
Salta pinch.
Unsalted butter1 tbs0.5 ounce

Have a strainer set over a small bowl near the range.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and cornstarch.  Gradually add ¼ cup of the half-and-half, whisking until the mixture is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.

In a medium heavy nonreactive saucepan, place the sugar and vanilla bean and, using your fingers, rub the seeds into the sugar.  Stir in the remaining 1¾ cups of half-and-half and the salt.  Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring occasionally.  Whisk 2 tablespoons of this hot mixture into the egg mixture.  Pass the egg mixture through a strainer into a small bowl.

Bring the half-and-half mixture back to a boil over medium heat.  Remove the vanilla pod (rinse and dry it for future use).  Quickly add all of the egg mixture, whisking rapidly.  Continue whisking rapidly for about 20 to 30 seconds, being sure to go into the bottom edge of the pan.  The mixture will become very thick.  Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the butter.  (If not using the vanilla bean, whisk in the vanilla extract at this point.)  Immediately pour the mixture into a bowl and place a piece of greased plastic wrap directly on top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Allow it to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold.


  1. This looks yummy! My son has been wanting me to make a pie for the past week and I told him to pick out whatever pie he wanted.He chose banana cream. I might just check out this recipe. Thank you!

  2. You're welcome! It's sooo good. Hope you try it.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Don't sneak porn links onto my blog.


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