Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Banana Cream Pie is the New Birthday Cake

The best banana cream pie is made with loads of bananas! Just a few slices at the bottom will not do. Then top with homemade vanilla custard and heaps of whipped cream.

Centuries back, when my sweetie and I started dating, we came to the inevitable first birthday celebration. Of course, I was going to make him a birthday cake.

“What kind of cake would you like,” I asked.
“I don’t really have a favorite,” he replied.
“Well, when you were a child, what kind of cake did you always ask for?”
“I didn’t get to choose,” he says. “My mother just organized the cake.”

To say I was appalled was putting it mildly. In my family of origin, birthdays were a big deal. The birthday person got to choose the cake, what we did that day, and even the dinner meal plan.  A restaurant or dinner at home. AND what was served, if the choice was meal at home.  Or what restaurant if it was a meal out.

Now I am not saying that my mother-in-law didn’t take his likes and dislikes into account, because she surely loves her son and would have chosen something he liked but, for me, it wasn’t the same.  So, that first year, I made him my childhood birthday cake of choice: Chocolate cake with chocolate icing.

As I got to know him better, I did find out what his favorite sweet treat is:  Banana Cream Pie.  Apparently, I just wasn’t asking the right question. And forever after, that is what he gets on his birthday instead of cake.

1 9-inch baked piecrust (Follow this link for instructions.)
1⁄2 cup or 110g sugar
1⁄3 cup or 42g all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 1⁄4 cups or 530ml milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon or 15g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 medium bananas (or 7-9 small ones)
1 cup or 240ml heavy whipping cream - for serving

Prepare piecrust and allow to cool. (Or you can prepare your piecrust during the four hours the filling needs to set and cool.  Your choice.  But know that making this pie for after dinner dessert means starting early in your day!  But it is worth it.  Totally.)

In 2-quart saucepan (no heat!) mix sugar, flour and salt.  Stir in milk until smooth.

Make sure you get ALL the lumps out before turning on the heat. 

Over medium heat, cook mixture, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and begins to boil (about 10 minutes). Boil one minute. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.

See the tiny bubbles?  It's gently boiling.

Separate your egg yolks from your whites, by gently transferring the yolk from one half of the shell to the other, putting the whites directly into a sealable plastic container for the refrigerator.  (We will make almond macaroons with these soon!)  Put the yolks in a bowl with enough room to whisk.

Beat egg yolks quickly with a whisk, while drizzling in about a 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture.   Quick beating and slow drizzling are essential so that you don’t end up with cooked eggs. 

Slowly pour egg mixture into the saucepan, stirring rapidly to prevent lumping.

I know it doesn't look like I was quickly stirring but that is just because I fake poured for
the camera and then really poured and stirred like crazy after. 

Occasionally, scrape the saucepan with a rubber spatula.

Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, until very thick (do not boil) and mixture mounds when dropped from spoon.

Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.  

Congratulations, you have made homemade vanilla custard.  Once the butter has melted, pour the custard into a metal bowl.  Cover its surface with plastic wrap to prevent skin forming.  Refrigerate until set, about four hours.

Once your custard is cool, you can peel your bananas.  Cut medium ones in half lengthwise and leave small ones whole.  Spread a little of the custard in the bottom of your baked piecrust and then add a layer of bananas.  

Spread the rest of the custard all over the bananas, making sure to fill in the gaps so that there is no air around the bananas.  This will prevent them from going brown.

Securely cover the custard with plastic wrap once more and put the pie back in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Just before serving: In small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form. This cream does not need to be sweetened since the bananas and the custard are sweet. Discard plastic wrap.

Spread cream on pie. Candle optional.


Happy birthday to my dear husband!  If you need a smaller pie, try my personal banana cream pie, a 7-inch version. It makes two generous servings.

Holding the hound up so he can help blow out the candle. 

And instead of dropping to the ground, when let go, Beso goes in for a bite.  Faster than the blink of an eye.


  1. You're a great wife Stacy!! I know Simon will agree..Happy belated bday to him and knew you would have made his day extra special....I so enjoy reading your blogs and recipes...Great job!

  2. Thanks, Shelly, Today is his actual birthday so I waited to post this now but we had to celebrate early because he is off to Rio then Houston for business meetings. Thank you so much for your kind words. The process of cooking and writing are fun for me.

  3. looks lovely ! what pray tell is in the plate by the side of the pie, looks like a large yellow hibiscus flower dissected ?

  4. Thank you! It's one of the set of round place mats we bought in Barbados on our honeymoon. Each one is a different painted hibiscus. We use them most days. Yerti used to put them away each morning so you probably never saw them in KL. Here, at least two just stay out on the breakfast table. I was looking up the artist just the other day (Do I need to get a life?) and found that she is still alive and painting. They still even sell our place mats! http://best-of-barbados.com/pages/Jill-Walker.html

  5. This looks to be dreadful for my diet but will give it a whirl - thanks for sharing Stacy. Think it would be my favourite birthday cake too. x

  6. This is definitely not diet food, but everyone deserves a treat now and then, don't you think? Let me know how it goes. XOXO

  7. this looks so good and a happy hubby

  8. Thanks, Rebecca! He deserves happy - he's a good guy!

  9. Oh man, you have no idea how much I'd love a slice of this pie. Delish!!

  10. Thanks for sharing this with me! It looks great, and I have all the ingredients on hand. PERFECT!

    I just browsed through your site and what a fun life you have/had! I have lived overseas, but only in Mircronesia and for a short time in Brazil. You have me beat by a LOOOONG shot! :)

  11. I hope you enjoy the pie as much as we do! I've never been to Micronesia but Brazil is one of my favorite places we've lived.


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