The Best Banana Cream Pie
Creamy custard, fresh bananas, and billowy whipped cream in a flaky crust with a shower of chocolate shavings – what's more comforting than that?!? Just imagine your fork diving deep into the decadent filling and shattering the crisp crust beneath. Delicious!
I pulled out of the parkade with tears in my eyes. After two months, my parents were headed back home to California. Summer 2018 is officially over as we close one the biggest chapters of our lives so far.
My parents come and go between Canada and California often. But this trip was different. They arrived in the beginning of July and left with a new member added to the family. Not only is the summer over, but this officially marks the end of my pregnancy, birth of my daughter, and postpartum bliss before starting our new normal lives. Brett has been back at work for two weeks now, but somehow their departure really made a footprint on my heart. And as I pulled the car out and drove home with two car seats in the back holding my most precious cargo, I was faced with the new season upon us.
I am so grateful for the help and love I've received from my family over the past 6 weeks or so. Every time my mom leaves, I reassure that we will survive without her but that I'd prefer not to - haha. Of course I'd rather have her one mile away instead of 900, but we will be fine. We are fine.
I can't thank my mom, dad, and brother enough for everything they did to help us transition to a family of four. From the daily adventures with Everett when I was too pregnant to move or stand the summer heat to countless trips to the pool and excursions to the fair, thank you for making sure my first born felt as special as always during this huge transition. Thank you for picking him up at 4am before we headed to the hospital when sister was born and caring for him when I was re-addimitted a few days later.
Thank you to my mom for feeding us nearly every night, cleaning the house, and the countless loads of laundry. Thank you to my dad for playing cars and building LEGO structures with Everett at his beck and call. Thank you to my brother Ryan for letting Everett escape the baby cries into his uncle's room to play guitar "real loud" and jump on his bed like a wild man.
Everett still has over a week until school starts and we can get back on some sort of schedule. Until then, I'll be holding down the fort with my two little ones all by myself for the first time (at least until Brett comes home from work). It won't be easy, but I know we will survive. And just in case, there is always pie.
After a hugely emotional (and hormonal) few weeks, I sure could use some comfort food. And I choose my comfort food in the form of dessert. Duh! This Banana Cream Pie is so luscious and decadent. If It doesn't solve all of your problems, then I don't know what will.
It starts with an extremely flaky, all-butter crust. We aren't getting fancy with intricate lattice work or anything, so be sure to leave the butter chunky in the pastry for ultimate layers of crisp crust perfection. Since we aren't cooking the fruit or filling, this recipes call for the pie dough to be blind baked. Be sure to chill the dough after crimping to keep the sides from slumping in the pan.
Next, my favourite vanilla bean pastry cream. So smooth and creamy! You will want to make the pastry cream in advanced so it has a chance to thicken up before spreading it into the cooled crust.
Slices of fresh banana fill the gap between the two creamy layers. The bananas should be ripe yet not still slightly firm. I slice them into 1/2-inch coins to keep them from turning into mush.
Piping the whipped cream is completely optional, but I think the pile of rosettes is not only pretty but gives the top of the pie a lovely texture. I filled a piping bag with my favourite star tip (Wilton 1M), and piped concentric circles of rosettes. Toward the center, I kept piping to form of mountain of cream. Alternatively, dollop on the billowy whipped cream with a spoon or swirl it on with a spatula.
Shaving the chocolate straight over the pie is the most convenient. I love how random the shards fall over the pie. Plus, if you tried to scoop them up and scatter the shavings with your hard, they might melt and get all sorts of messy. Simply scape a vegetable peeler against the side of a block of chocolate over the top of the prepared pie before serving.
The Best Banana Cream Pie
All-Butter Pie Crust
½ cup cold water
¼ cup ice
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold butter, diced
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Place the ice in the water and set aside.
2. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or by hand, rubbing the pieces of butter between your thumb, index, and middle fingers. Keep the chunks of butter large and irregular (about the size of a walnut), then begin to flatten the pieces of butter in sheets between your palms. Be careful not to over-work the butter or let it get too warm.
3. Working with only a couple tablespoons at a time, add in about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the water. Stir together using a wooden spoon or even just a clean hand in the bowl. The dough should appear fairly shaggy and not sticky. Once you can squeeze a few pieces together and they hold, the dough is done being mixed. Do not over-mix.
4. Dump the dough onto your work surface and fold a few times until it hold together. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or overnight (preferably).
5. Bring the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Lightly flour the work surface and begin to roll out the dough, working from the center out – rotating the dough after each roll. Roll the dough until about ¼ inch thick and about 12 to 13 inches in diameter.
7. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Fit the dough into the bottom of the tin and up the sides, allowing for about an inch of overhang. Tuck the edges of the dough under itself and press onto the rim of the pie pan.
8. Crimp the edges of the pie dough to further secure the dough to the pan (see image above). Chill the pie dough for 30 minutes while the oven pre-heats.
9. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Once ready, line the pie dough with a piece of parchment paper. Fill with pie weighs, uncooked rice, or dry beans.
10. Bake the pie for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn brown. Carefully take the pie out of the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Return the crust to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, until it is golden brown and flakey and the bottom feels dry to the touch. Completely cool the crust before filling.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 vanilla bean, seed scraped out
1 3/4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Place the butter in a heat-safe container. Set aside.
2. Place the vanilla bean seeds, pod, and milk in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low until it begins to simmer.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Stir in the flour and cornstarch until smooth.
4. Temper the hot milk into the egg mixture by whisking in a little bit at a time in order to gradually bring up the temperature of the eggs. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
5. Return the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium-high.
6. While stirring constantly, bring the mixture up to a boil - the cream will be thick and will "pop" slowly. Continue to whisk/cook for about 1 minute after it begins boil.
7. Strain the mixture with a mesh sieve and into the container with the butter. Stir to combine.
8. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until cool and thick.
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
splash vanilla extract
By hand of with an electric mixer, whip the cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and whip until soft peaks. Add the vanilla and whip until medium/firm peaks. By hand, this will take about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not over-mix.
2 to 3 ripe bananas
dark chocolate for shaving
1. Fill the baked and cooled pie crust with the prepared pastry cream. Smooth out with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
2. Slice the bananas into 1/2-inch thick coins. Place them in tight concentric circles on top of the pastry cream.
3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream. Pipe tight spirals on to top of the bananas to create rosettes. Continue to pipe piles of cream, or as desired.
4. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape the long edge of a block of chocolate directly over the top of the finished pie to create chocolate shavings.
If possible, refrigerate the pie for about an hour before serving so that the creamy filling has a chance to set up (it will slice much easier this way). Pie is best eaten the same day as it is made (before the bananas turn brown). Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 to 3 days.
Pastry cream may be made up to 3 days in advanced and stored in the refrigerator. Gently stir to loosen before spreading in the pie crust.
Pie crust may be baked in advanced. Wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature overnight.