Dave’s birthday is today! He’s a few years older than me, which can be nice sometimes. It’s not that I think I’m old, or that I get all “I can’t believe I’m [blank] already.” But I can’t deny that when I hit those landmark numbers, those ages when it’s hard not to think “I’m [blank], and this is where I am in life?”, that the impact is lessened a bit by the fact that my husband’s been there for a few years.
Every year on his birthday, Dave requests banana cream pie. I’ve tried a number of recipes, and so far, according to Dave, none of them have lived up to Baker’s Square Restaurant. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t had Baker’s Square pie in quite a few years, and if he were to try it now (after living with me), he’d have a different opinion. But until then, I’ll just make my own favorite recipe.
This recipe starts with a graham cracker crust, which I’m a big fan of, especially for custard pies. The crust has a bit of banana right in it, which is a really great touch.
The custard is undeniably rich. I have no problems with that! After both the crust and custard have cooled to room temperature, two layers of banana and three layers of custard are filled into the crust. Then the pie is covered and chilled for at least eight hours to set the custard and soften the crust. Yeah right. I wasn’t that organized. We ate it after four hours of chilling.
It’s so good! It may not live up to Baker’s Square fame, but Dave had a number of complimentary comments to give, including “Scrumdelilicious.”
The original recipe is from epicurious.com, but I’m going to give my own adaptations below. The original is made in a 10-inch pie pan, which seems silly, because most people, including myself, don’t have such a beast. The recipe I’ve given below is adjusted for a standard 9-inch pie pan. I also made a few tweaks to the crust.
Banana Cream Pie (adapted from epicurious.com)
9 graham crackers, processed to fine crumbs (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons sugar
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6½ tablespoons (2.8 ounces) sugar
¼ cup (1.1 ounces) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1¼ cups whipping cream
1¼ cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
4½ ripe bananas, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and banana until evenly mixed and there are no visible chunks of banana. Add unsalted butter and process to moisten evenly. Press onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch glass pie dish. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Bake crust until set and pale golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and whole milk, then egg yolks. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add vanilla bean. Whisk over medium-high heat until custard thickens and boils, about 6 minutes. Pour through mesh strainer into medium bowl. Whisk in unsalted butter and vanilla extract. Cool completely, whisking occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove vanilla bean.
Stir custard to loosen, if necessary. Spread ¾ cup custard over bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of sliced bananas, then ¾ cup custard, covering bananas completely. Repeat layering with remaining bananas and remaining custard. Chill banana cream pie until filling is set and crust softens slightly, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Cut pie into wedges and serve with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.