Last summer when Lydia was pregnant with Ethan, I liked to grill her about her cravings to try to find new baking projects. She’s always loved desserts based around bananas – she introduced me to bananas foster many years ago – and one of the first things she asked for was Banana Cream Pie. I made it for a party Lydia and Andrew hosted while her cousin Andrea was in town, and it was a resounding FAIL due to one major misstep. I tried to make a gluten-free crust.
The original recipe calls for a graham cracker crust, but since Aoife was coming to the BBQ, I thought it would be easy to turn this into a gluten free dessert. I just assumed that I could buy a box of gluten free cookies, smash them up, add some melted butter, and press the whole thing into a pie plate. When I tried to bake this concoction, all the butter seeped out of the crumbs and pooled in the middle of the crust. I tried to spoon some of it out, but basically just let it bake for a while, hoping it would eventually crisp up. It didn’t.
I filled it anyway according to the recipe, and when it came time to cut and serve it, found the crust was essentially shellacked onto the pie plate. I ended up scooping it out onto plates, and even though Lyd said it tasted great, I was so disappointed in the presentation. I vowed to redeem myself!!! Not really, but I’ve wanted to try it again for the last year.
Lydia, Andrew and Ethan came over for a visit last weekend, so I decided this was my chance. I made a super thick graham cracker crust (more like a fortress), filled it with caramelized bananas, topped with white chocolate custard, and finished with whipped cream. And guess what? This effing pie did the exact same thing – slopped all over everywhere – and I couldn’t get a slice at all. The verdict was still the same in that it tasted amazing, but Banana Cream Slop was not really what I had in mind.
If I were making this again, I would assemble it in individual ramekins, or just forget the crust and layer it in bowls. It would look great in tall glasses or wine glasses too because you could see the different layers. Anyway, Lydia is right, it’s delicious no matter what it looks like. Here’s a peek at the bananas foster layer, since I refused to photograph the hot mess created by trying to slice this monster.
White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
Source: Anna Olson
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
White Chocolate Custard:
1 3/4 cup whole milk (I used 2% to no ill effect)
4 large egg yolks (save the whites to make meringues!)
6 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
8 oz white chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
2 tbsp whipping cream
3 firm bananas, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
- Crust – Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, and press into a 9″ pie plate. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes and let cool completely. Note that this quantity makes more of a fortress than a crust, so you can always cut these amounts in half for a more standard thickness crust.
- White Chocolate Cream – Whisk yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat milk to just below a simmer. Slowly add hot milk to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and return to medium heat. Stir custard until it thickens and is shiny, about 5 minutes. Place chopped white chocolate and butter in a clean large bowl. Strain hot custard over white chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Cover surface of custard directly with plastic wrap and cool. Chill completely.
- Bananas – In a large skillet or saute pan, heat sugar and corn syrup over medium high heat. Stir gently until melted, then let sugar cook without stirring until amber in colour, about 3 minutes. Whisk in whipping cream carefully (it will bubble and steam aggressively), and then add bananas. Stir to coat, and then add rum and vanilla. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
- Whipped Cream – Whip cream and sugar to soft peaks.
- Assembly – Spread bananas over cooled crust. Top with chilled white chocolate cream. Spread whipped cream over top to finish.
Note: This is not really a dessert you can make the day you want to serve it. There are too many separate layers that need to cool and chill before assembling. I recommend making the crust and custard a day in advance, and the bananas and cream the day of.