Google “revisit” and this is what comes up: consider again from a different perspective. Two years ago, adrift and raw from the loss of my grandfather, I started this blog with a recipe for vanilla bean banana cream pie. Though not my favorite pie, it was his favorite. Hoping to soothe my broken-heart, I made a fresh banana cream freckled with vanilla beans, topped with extra banana slices and surrounded by a crunchy and sweet graham cracker crust. I imagined him eating it and smiling.
Last week and nearly two years later I made a banana cream pie for the second time. As I stood at the stove vigorously whisking the banana mixture into a thick, cement-colored pudding, I thought of him sitting in his chair, martini in his hand. “Hello, Kel!”, his voice forever clear in my head. My arm ached and I felt a twinge in my heart, but the pain was minor. I could make his favorite dessert again (maybe even with a twist), think of him, miss him and move on. The loss was no longer raw.
“…the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you.” Anne Lamott
Minutes later the annoyingly persistent stove timer went off, and just as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared again. I smiled and removed the pan from the heat, incredibly relieved I could finally stop whisking.
The banana and butter and food coloring mishmash whirled in the blender, changing from a dull yellow to the yellow of a just ripe banana peel. Once silky smooth, I chilled the mixture in our refrigerator for an hour. Next, I whipped the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until medium-soft peaks formed. Now cold, I added the banana mixture to the whipped cream and slowly blended until well combined and smooth. I dumped my banana cream into an air-tight container and stored it in the fridge while I tackled the chocolate wafer crust.
I opted for an easy chocolate wafer crust instead of the laborious, but, I’m sure, delicious Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate crust. (I hope to try Tossi’s crust at some point, so if you have time try it and let me know what you think.)
Twenty-minutes from start to baked deliciousness and the pie was ready for assembly. I spread half of the banana cream evenly over the chocolate crust, followed by the banana slices, topped with the remainder of the banana cream and then swirled with an offset spatula for a bit of elegance.
I cut into the pie and elegance went right out the window. Though delicious the chocolate crust was a mess, but tasted so, so good with the banana cream. The pudding is smooth with a robust banana flavor and slight hint of vanilla and by far the best banana cream I have ever tasted. If I make it again, I’ll serve the banana cream in ramekins with a dusting of chocolate wafer crust crumbs or maybe even layer it.
Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetempt via Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi
Ingredients for Banana Cream:
2 very ripe bananas the browner, the better
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4-1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 ripe banana (juts ripe works best here)
Directions for Banana Cream:
Using your blender, combine 2 ripe bananas, 1/3 cup heavy cream, and 1/4 cup of whole milk. Puree until very smooth. Next, add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks and vanilla extract, and blend. Pour the banana mixture into a medium saucepan. Set aside while you clean out your blender.
Now, bloom your gelatin. Pour 2 tablespoons of cold water into a bowl. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin evenly over the water. Let the gelatin sit and soften for about 5 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, whisk the banana mixture constantly. Bring to a boil and continue to whisk for another few minutes. (The extra time will cook off the cornstarch.) The mixture will now look like thick glue and that’s ok! Remove from heat and plop the glue-like mixture into the blender. Add the butter and gelatin and blend until completely smooth. Add food coloring and blend until bright yellow. (I used 1/2 teaspoon of yellow food coloring and it looked a bit like yellow mustard. I think next time I’ll stick with 1/4 teaspoon.) Transfer the banana mixture to a heat-proof container and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until completely cooled.
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until medium-soft peaks form. Add the chilled banana mixture to the whipped cream. Slowly whip until completely blended. Store in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Now prepare your chocolate crust.
Chocolate Wafer Crust
recipe barely adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 1 9-inch pie crust
28 chocolate wafer cookies, finely ground (I used a food processor.)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
Combine chocolate wafer cookies, melted butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground and well combined. Pour crumb mixture into pie plate and pat firmly and evenly on the bottom and along the sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a bit darker and smells delicious.
Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
Pour half of the banana cream into the chocolate wafer crust. Spread evenly with an off-set spatula. Spread banana slices over the top. (I used 1 banana here.) Cover with the rest of the banana cream and spread evenly. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Enjoy!
The crust is a bit messy. It didn’t stay together all that well and it was hard to get a clean slice. I think next time I’ll take Amelia of Bon Attempt’s advice and serve the banana cream in ramekins sprinkled with the chocolate crumbs. The banana cream and the chocolate crumb make for an addictive and delicious sweet treat. Give it a shot!
5 Banana Cream Riffs You Should Check Out
Craving a milkshake? Check out the Kitchn’s Soda Fountain Banana Cream Pie Milkshake.
Raw, vegan and no-bake banana cream pie. 84th&3rd has the recipe for you. I would be all over this if we didn’t have nut allergies in our house!
If you love dulce de leche, check out Oh Sweet Basil’s recipe dulce de leche banana cream pie.
Love and Olive Oil has a recipe for a chocolate banana cream pie that is mouth-watering. Yum!
I love cupcakes so Tidy Mom’s banana cream pie cupcakes are now on my must make list.