Recently, my daughter came home from school with tales of a fabulous treat she had tried at school, made by one of the teachers. She began to describe the wonders of it to me, and asked if we could make one ourselves. This is the beauty of having a 6 year-old: when I told her that yes, we could make banana cream pie, she was awestruck, and we set out to make it right away.
Cream pies are so easy, you almost don’t need a recipe, but I do love to refer to something along the way just to make sure the proportions are correct, especially with something like custard – but then again, I also like to skip that altogether and use Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding as the filling! So quick, and really? Nobody cares that I didn’t make the custard. We did make our own crust, and my daughter gleefully crushed the Nilla Wafers herself with a re-purposed lemon-squeezer. (I find you can do amazing things with tools that are actually designed for other things. That and a zip lock bag. More things to add to the Desert Island list…)
Here, then, is the recipe for Banana Cream Pie as set out in the Bible – I mean, the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking. Note that in the book, they refer you back and forth to various pages and separate listings, so I have edited slightly for this preparation to make it read smoothly. Got about 20 minutes? Then you, too, can amaze your children with the Wonder of Pie!
Banana Cream Pie
Cookie Crumb Crust
Crush or grind fine, or crumb in a blender as directed until very fine: 1 ½ cups of graham crackers, zwieback, vanilla or chocolate wafers, or gingersnaps
The flavor of the filling should determine which of the above to use. Stir into the crumbs until well blended:
¼ to ½ cup sifted confectioners sugar
6 Tbsp melted butter
Reserve 2 to 3 Tbsp of the crumb mixture. Pat the rest into the pan or press out to the desired thickness. Bake in a 350 oven about 10 minutes; cool completely. When the pie is filled, scatter the reserved crumbs as a toping.
In top of double boiler combine:
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
Add, stir and cook over – not in – boiling water 10 minutes or until mixture thickens:
2 cups milk
Remove from heat. Beat slightly:
3 egg yolks
Stirring well, pour half of hot mixture into eggs. When smooth, return eggs to rest of hot mixture and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add:
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
Peel and slice thinly:
2 ripe bananas
Place them in the baked pie shell. Pour the cooled filling over them