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Monday, February 21, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

Let me begin this post with a coming of age story about a young girl and a pie. I was 8 years old. My family had invited like 4 big families over to share in our Easter dinner with our family of 7. There was ham, a plethora of side dishes and rolls. Oh, and tons and tons of pies. In my memory, there was a table just filled with pies. A kids dream come true, especially since there were like 100 kids running around and the adults are otherwise occupied conversing one with another.

I meandered over to the pies. There were several banana cream which has long been a favorite of mine. I took a huge piece and ate it. I went back and got another huge piece and ate it. I went back and got another huge piece and ate it. This went on and on until the pie was almost completely gone, just a few crumbs and some filling that had fallen out. I then went on my way. Later that night I paid for my pigginess (Spell check confirms pigginess is indeed not a word but a totally appropriate made up one for this story).

Interestingly enough, that horrible night of throwing up banana cream pie did not have any lasting effect on my love for it. So when I saw this recipe and the description was that things don't have to be totally homemade to be good, I knew it was going to be a keeper. And it really, really is. I have made this pie over and over again. It is easy and so so good!!

Just a quick note here. The original recipe actually makes two pies. However, I am a pig (see above story) and just make one pie. I buy the big graham cracker pre-made crust instead of the smaller one. I follow all the same directions except that I put about 2/3rds of the pudding mixture into my crust and then eat the other 1/3rd while I am standing there in the kitchen. Also, I have only ever tried the vanilla version but I am sure the chocolate one is good as well.

Banana Cream Pie
adapted slightly from Our Best Bites

1 4-serving size box of instant chocolate or vanilla pudding
1 c. cold water
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cookie crusts. You can use anything--graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, shortbread, even Oreo.
Lots of bananas
1 pint whipping cream
1/3 c. powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix, cold water, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix well and place in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.
Slice the bananas and layer them on the bottom of the crust, just until entire bottom is covered, although I do stack a few but just be careful. If you stack too many bananas, the crust doesn't get as moist. Set aside.

In another bowl, whip 1 c. of whipping cream until soft peaks form.
Remove pudding from the fridge and gently dollop the whipped cream on top of the pudding. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well-combined. Place most of the pudding mixture on top of bananas. It doesn't all fit and it is fun to have some left to eat with cookies!
Be sure and save the plastic domes that come with the pie crusts, you will use them to cover the pie while it refrigerates.

Using mixer, whip remaining whipping cream and 1/3 c. of powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Place the clear plastic shells back on the pies and allow to chill for several hours. This is actually really important, the banana flavor has to have time to seep into the pudding and the crust to get softened.
Go ahead and dig in. But maybe not eat a whole pie all in one sitting. Then again, maybe I could do it without throwing up this time. Something to think about.....

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