Nanabanana Cream Pie
A while ago, I opened one of those video ads that pop up on social media masquerading as an informative piece but turns out to be an infomercial selling something that’s purported to be a quick weight loss product. This video was on foods to avoid to reduce belly fat and the miracle product you could buy to help you in the process. As much as I’d like to look like I did when I was twenty, or even fifty, I have come to the resigned conclusion that belly fat is a normal part of life…along with looking in the mirror and seeing that gravity is no longer my friend. I remember the oh so righteous thoughts of my younger years, when I saw mature women in swimming pool changing rooms.
I will never…no never…let my body get like that.
I laugh at myself now when I think about it because, one morning you wake up… and ta dah…there you are wearing your mom’s body and wondering, “How the heck did that happen?”.
Let’s go back to that infomercial that I got sucked into for a moment. A food that “they” say to avoid is banana. As a child, I was very happy to avoid fruits or vegetables. The fruit that came in a yellow jacket was one my mom knew I would eat, and eat them often I did. Sliced on cereal both hot and cold, in a peanut butter sandwich, in banana bread, on ice cream, and out of hand. Bananas were cheap, filling, and delicious.
In my late 20s, during a post divorce trip to Maui (hey, I didn’t have a honeymoon so the least I could have was an it’s-over-moon), I stopped at fruit stands and found banana varieties I had never known about. There were big bananas, little bananas, apple bananas, red bananas, blue bananas, ice cream bananas, bananas with variegated peel, one that looked like praying hands, and another that didn’t look like a banana at all but more like a fig. Did you know that there are over 1000 banana varieties? The yellow one, that most all of us eat, is the Cavendish.
Today, when looking for information to share with you about the banana, I came across a UK website completely dedicated to it. Here are a few of the fascinating things I learned:
- The scientific name for banana is ‘musa sapientum’ which translates as ‘fruit of the wise man’
- The banana plant is not a tree, it is the world’s largest herb
- The inside of a banana skin can be used to calm an itchy mosquito bite – many people find that rubbing the bite with the skin helps to reduce irritation
- The inside of a banana skin can be used to polish shoes
- Bananas could help you to feel happier, as they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to promote relaxation and improve mood
That last reason is the perfect one to give me permission to eat them. So yesterday, I made a banana cream pie. Forgive me when I humbly say to you, it is one of the best banana cream pies I have ever made.
I ate a bite, and then another. Honestly, I believe I could have stood at the kitchen counter, spoon in hand, devouring much of what I had just created. I didn’t do that, but believe me when I tell you that the thought is still with me as I write this. Instead, with “everything in moderation” foremost in my mind, I headed out in my neighborhood and shared it with friends and neighbors until the plate was almost empty. There was a bit of cool creamy filling in the bottom of the pan when I finished, so I took the spoon and finished it off, stopping short of licking the plate clean. 😉 I have no idea if it was the tryptophan that made me feel so calm and relaxed for the rest of the day, but after a very good night’s sleep, I still feel centered and happy today.
So, you may be thinking…
Enough of this. Just give me the darn recipe, Kate.
And so I shall after a couple of last thoughts that are nice to share with this pie:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff like bananas and belly fat.
- Make your neighbors your friends. You never know when you may need to call on them for help…or they you.
- During this time in our world, I hope this pie may bring you a little comfort.
NANABANANA CREAM PIE
9″ deep dish pie pan/plate
To Make the Pie
- 3-5 ripe but not mushy bananas, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- Pre-baked Cookie Crumb Crust (recipe follows)
- Luscious Cream Filling (recipe follows)
- Chantilly Cream (recipe follows)
- Place a layer of banana slices inside the bottom of the cooled pie shell.
- Spread the cream filling over the bananas evenly.
- Arrange banana slices over the top of the filling in whatever pattern you like.
- Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream (a/k/a Chantilly Cream).
Cookie Crumb Crust
- 3 cups cookie crumbs (I used peanut butter cookies.)
- 8 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Pour the crumbs into a bowl, add melted butter, and distribute well with clean hands or a fork.
- Spread and press the mixture evenly into your pie plate or pan.
- Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Luscious Cream Filling
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 4 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Separate the egg yolks and place them in a medium size bowl. Add the vanilla extract and whisk the yolks for a minute or so until they are smooth. It’s fine to do this with a fork.
- Place the sugar and cornstarch in a medium size saucepan and mix together with a whisk or fork.
- With a whisk in hand, turn the heat to medium under the saucepan and pour the light half and half slowly and steadily into the dry ingredients while whisking constantly. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens and you see it begin to bubble.
- Remove from the heat momentarily and pour about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the eggs in the bowl. Whisk together in the bowl until it looks blended in. This won’t take long. Pour the now hot egg mixture from the bowl, into the saucepan and return it to the stovetop. Turn the heat back to medium and whisk the mixture constantly until you bring it to a boil. It will be thick and coat the bake of a spoon. Remove from the heat.
- Turn the hot mixture into a bowl and cover with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Whip 1/2 cup heavy cream until it forms soft peaks and fold into the cooled mixture until it is evenly distributed.
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chill a bowl, beaters, and cream.
- Pour whipping cream in a medium size deep bowl. Add sugar and vanilla extract.
- Whip with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes.
Notes: You can easily halve or even quarter all the components (crust, filling, whipped topping) and make smaller sized pies.
It’s perfectly fine to substitute banana extract for the vanilla in the Luscious Cream.