That being said, this recipe is one that has been on my "To Make" board for about 6 months now. Banana cream pie became stuck in my head after hearing Mike and Tom talk about it on their podcast "MATES." Since then, I had been dying to make one, and a Saturday night at home warranted the occasion.
Once you master making a custard filling, it opens up a door to a whole new world of desserts. The key to the perfect custard is to go slow and whisk constantly! If you boil the milk or add the warm milk to the eggs too quickly, you could risk scorching your milk or curdling your eggs (respectively). Keep your milk over medium-low heat and add it to your eggs about 1/4 of a cup at a time. It's incredibly trying on those of us who are not patient but believe me, you do not want to rush this. Also, make sure you're whisking constantly, even if it is a pain. This will keep your custard silky and smooth. I mean, who would want to bite into a lumpy custard? It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it...
Also, just a word of warning, when you have your milk/egg mixture over heat it's going to thicken up rather suddenly. I was lackadaisically swirling the whisk around the pot when I noticed a clump was starting to form in the middle of the pot. At that point, you want to make sure you're whisking consistently and somewhat rapidly. You want it to thicken up smoothly without any lumps.
I have to admit, when I was spooning the custard into a bowl I was a little skeptical. I had never made custard before, so I didn't know what to make of the smell and consistency of the goopy stuff I had just made. So I decided to have a little taste. At first, I didn't taste anything, but then this slightly sweet taste started to come, and before I knew it I was licking the pot clean. The custard is not eggy at all, and using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar makes for a very rich custard.
The pie is just lovely. For a cream pie, it's not heavy at all, and the custard is so silky and decadent. Also, there's nothing quite like homemade whipped cream, and with this recipe, you'll have some left over for dipping fruit in and putting on your ice cream. The strawberries are such a nice touch to the pie since they add a tiny bit of tartness. This pie was wonderful and I know it will make an appearance again this summer. Or maybe even as early as Mother's Day.
Strawberry Banana Cream Pie
Yield: 1 9-in. pie
Prep Time: 45 min + 1 hour (at least) in fridge
For the filling:
- 2 c whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ c brown sugar
- 1/3 c cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
To assemble the pie:
- 1 graham cracker pie crust
- 2 bananas, sliced
- ½ lb strawberries, sliced
For the topping*:
- 2 c (1 pint) whipping cream
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
To make the filling, bring the milk to a slow boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
In a separate, larger saucepan (not over heat), whisk the egg yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt until well blended and thick. Drizzle about ¼ of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to warm the eggs slowly. Slowly add the rest of the milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Be careful not to let the eggs curdle.
Place the saucepan with the egg and milk mixture over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Allow the mixture to boil, still whisking, for 1 minute and then remove from heat. The mixture should be thick and creamy.
Whisk in the vanilla extract and then let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter, stirring constantly until the butter is incorporated. Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to touch the surface of the custard so a skin doesn’t form on the top. Refrigerate until cold throughout (at least one hour but preferably overnight).
To assemble the pie, layer the bananas and then the strawberries along the bottom of the graham cracker pie crust. Mash the left over banana slices and stir into the custard. Pour the custard into the pie shell and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve the pie, spread the whipped topping on the pie and top with any left over sliced strawberries. Serve pie immediately or refrigerate. Pie will last 2 – 3 days.
*Note: this makes more whipped topping than you will need for the pie, but you can always use it as a topping for fruit, ice cream, pastries, etc. or store in the freezer for use later.
Adapted from Joy the Baker