Being banana cream pie is made of only three things: crust, pastry cream and fresh bananas, they all need to be the very best they can possibly be when they come together.
The crust, in my humble opinion, should add a pop of flavor to counterpoint the mild creaminess of the filling. The pastry cream should be rich and smooth, not too thick, not too thin, in this case with little bits of chewy coconut thrown in…just because…banana loves coconut…and so do I. And if the bananas are anything but perfectly ripe and sweet, it will throw off the entire flavor of the pie.
What does all this mean? You have a small window of opportunity for pulling off a successful banana cream pie. On top of all that, the pie has to be chilled a good 8 hours or overnight to completely “set” up before serving.
I added zesty gingersnaps and cinnamon to the graham cracker crust, flavors that naturally complement bananas. Hidden among the soft, billows of luscious pastry cream, the coconut and banana are a match made in heaven.
Yes, my dear friends, I pulled it off and you can too!
Coconut and banana are a match made in pie heaven with a gingersnap crust and billows of luscious pastry cream.
- Make crust: stir graham cracker crumbs, ginger snap crumbs, sugar, mashed banana and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add unsalted butter and stir to moisten evenly.
- Press onto bottom and up sides of a 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until set and pale golden, 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- Make the filling: whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and whole milk, then egg yolks. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add vanilla bean. Whisk over medium-high heat until custard thickens and boils, about 6 minutes (don’t overcook or custard will thicken too much). Remove from heat.
- Whisk in unsalted butter, vanilla extract and coconut flakes, if using. Add the custard to a large bowl, cover top with saran wrap pressing it right to the top of the cream so it’s touching (to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming) cool completely, whisking occasionally, about 1 hour.
- Stir custard to loosen and spread a heaping cup of over bottom of crust. Top with half of the sliced bananas then another heaping cup custard covering bananas completely. Repeat layering with remaining bananas and remaining custard.
- Chill pie until filling is set and crust softens slightly at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Before serving toast 1/2 cup coconut flakes in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often until golden brown. Sprinkle over pie before serving with fresh whipped cream, if desired.
Adapted from Epicurious