This week I made a banana cream pie. I used a recipe from the Good Food blog, which was provided by an LA restaurant. It was my first attempt at a banana cream pie; actually, I’d never made any kind of cream or silk pie before. Well, there was something called a nectarine cream pie that I made a few years ago, but it wasn’t really a cream pie in the traditional sense. (But it was really good and I haven’t been able to find the recipe since. Darn.) In fact, after I made the banana cream pie, I tried to think of a banana cream pie that I liked. I couldn’t recall one. I couldn’t recall ever having tasted a banana cream pie before. I might have had one, but if I did it was unremarkable.
One thing that kept me from making a banana cream pie is the name. In my head, I imagine a pie made of banana cream. In reality, every pie recipe I’ve seen has been for bananas and cream. In this case, the cream was a vanilla-ginger custard mixed with whipped cream. It was delicious, despite my skepticism about all the flavors that went into each part of the pie. The crust had cinnamon and ginger and was covered with a layer of melted chocolate before the filling was added. The vanilla-ginger cream was layered with overripe banana clumps (it was too mushy to slice). In the end, it all came together pretty well, and the overripe bananas infused the pie with banana flavor far better than I expected. But it still wasn’t a cream made with bananas. Is that even possible? Can you blend mushy bananas into the cream and still keep the texture? I’ll have to look into that.
The bananas and cream pie issue was the same problem I had with banana pudding. Except for a processed pudding-in-a-cup product, no banana pudding was really banana pudding. It was plain or vanilla pudding with bananas in or on it. Even the classic recipe from the Nilla wafers box creates a plain pudding layered with vanilla wafers and bananas (and baked beneath a meringue, which I always removed before eating). They’re all closer to a trifle or a parfait. Sigh. You have no idea how much these things bother me. (Hint: it’s far more than any person should be bothered by a dessert’s name or definition.)
But I digress. Back to my banana cream pie.
The bf enjoyed it. So did I, though it’s not in my list of favorite pies. I think the ginger was a little too strong for me and took away from the banana flavor. My other problem was the stability of the cream. Banana cream pie is best made for a crowd. I used fresh whipped cream, so the pie started to flatten a bit in the refrigerator. I popped it in the freezer without slicing, so now I have to defrost the entire pie if we want another slice. That layer of melted chocolate is like a disc of steel when frozen. I don’t think the pie will hold up to repeated defrosting and refreezing, so we’ll be eating it by chipping off hunks of frozen bananas and cream–which is not so bad considering the 113-degrees we experienced yesterday. Next time I’ll slice the pie before freezing it or be sure to have guests that night.