When I met him I seriously questioned whether I could make a lifelong commitment to someone who is only mildly interested in chocolate. He baffled me when he told me he did not like chocolate ice cream and his attitude towards chocolate cake is lukewarm. Seriously, it bothers me to this day.
But, I have come to accept this about him and being a good wife, I try to support him. On one occasion I remember we had heard about this little restaurant that was tucked away in some small Ontario town that apparently had the best Banana Cream Pie.
The place was near my Grandparent’s house so when we were there for a visit I decided we should find this restaurant so that hubby could try the pie. We drove around little country roads for what seemed like forever, getting lost and making wrong turns, but finally we found the place only to find that they were sold out (must have been really good pie to be sold out in such an out of the way location). Hubby had to settle for Coconut Cream Pie, a very distant second place.The place is gone now so we never did get to try it.
The last time I made it I dressed it up a bit for a dinner party, so I used a tart form. Normally I would use a regular pie plate so that the slices are thicker. It's a very simple recipe to put together and you can change it up anyway you like. Sometimes I put a layer of chocolate sauce or caramel sauce on the crust before I pour the pudding over top and sometimes I just put banana slices. Either way it is delicious.
Banana Cream Pie
for the crust:
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs until the crumbs are moistened and the mixture begins to clump together. Pour the mixture into the bottom of your pie plate and, using your hand, press the crumb mixture to evenly coat the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Set aside.
for the pudding:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon banana extract
1-2 bananas sliced
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the milk. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to medium low and cook and stir 2 - 3 minutes more. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, lightly beat your egg yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly add 1 cup of your warm milk mixture. This will temper the yolks to bring them slowly up to the temperature of the milk so that you do not create scrambled eggs. Return the yolk and milk mixture to the remaining milk mixture in your saucepan. Cook and stir over medium low heat for 2 - 3 minutes more to thicken the pudding. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, banana extract and tablespoon of butter. If desired, you can strain the pudding through a fine sieve to ensure it is smooth and there is no cooked egg in the mixture.
Assemble the pie:
Cover the bottom of your prepared crust with the banana slices and pour the pudding over top. Smooth the top with a spatula and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 6-8 hours to allow the pudding to set and the pie to cool completely. You can prepare the pie the night before if you wish.
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla.
In a stand mixer, on high speed, beat the cream with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat about 1 minute more until firm peaks form. Right before serving the pie, spread the top with the whipped cream and garnish with banana slices and a few graham cracker crumbs. Enjoy!
*** I've had a few questions about the banana extract and I just wanted to add a note about it. It is not necessary to the recipe, it just boosts the banana flavour a bit. It can be hard to find, but if you are looking for it, you can find it in some grocery stores, specialty food stores or you can order it on line here.
***I have also had a question about the pudding setting up. It is important to cook the pudding until it is quite thick before you take it off the stove, just be careful to keep stirring so that the bottom does not burn. If you are worried that it will not be thick enough you can always add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch. Dissolve it in 2 tablespoons of cold milk and add the mixture to the thickened pudding. Return it to the stove and simmer 2 minutes more or until it has reached the desired consistency.
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