Isn’t it beautiful?

Last year, our church had a pie social. I made a peach pie (which was also the occasion of me locking myself out on the front porch while the pie was in the oven. There was some incoherent screeching, shortly followed by digging around in the rain gutter to get my spare key so I could let myself back into the house before the pie burned). At the pie social, there was a banana cream pie. No one in my family has ever really made that kind, so I hadn’t tried it before. A great loss, I soon discovered! Ever since, I’ve wanted to try my hand at it myself.

One of my bridal shower presents earlier this summer was Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. I’m not Southern by any stretch of the imagination, but oh boy, does she ever have some good ideas in there. Including banana cream pie. This week, I finally got around to making it. I had the bananas, the cream, and the time–though not really any particular occasion. Does one need an occasion for pie?

It was quite simple to put together, especially since I cheated and used a Pillsbury pie crust. I can make a darn good crust myself (and humility is apparently not my strong suit), but I had this one sitting in the fridge and it seemed a shame not to use it! This being a week night and all, I think it was perfectly justified.

The catch: I didn’t start making the pie until 6:30. I had the crust and the custard cooked by 7:00. The custard then had to cool for at least an hour. That meant I didn’t get the pie put together, with bananas and custard, until 7:30, and then it had to chill before it could be sliced. I was so tired last night…I kind of thought longingly of my pie around 10:00, but I was too tired to do much then except go to bed. I don’t think I have ever made such a delicious-looking dessert and then stuck it in the fridge without even trying it.

All day today I was thinking about pie, so it was high on my list of things to do upon getting home from school

Pardon the less-than-artistic-looking serving. I was mostly interested in shoveling it down my gullet, so just be glad there is a picture. Let me tell you, it lived up to my expectations. I may or may not have had another half-slice when I got home from church choir practice….

So, after all that, I suppose I’d better post the recipe. This is from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. My notes are in bold.

Banana Cream Pie

1 9-in unbaked pie crust
½  cup sugar
½ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (I didn’t have whole milk, so used a mixture of 2% and half-and-half)
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
4 bananas, sliced, plus sliced bananas for serving
Whipped cream, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the dough with parchment paper or foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans or pie weights and paper or foil. (I’ve never had pie weights and this seems like kind of a waste of beans, so I just lined it with foil. It didn’t bubble too much.)

2. While the pie crust is baking, prepare the filling: In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk; then whisk in the egg yolks. Place over medium-high heat and whisk until the custard thickens and boils, about 6 minutes. (Ha. I’m not sure what realm Paula is living in where this goes that quickly. Think more like 10 minutes.)  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Scrape the custard into a large bowl and let cool completely, whisking occasionally. This should take about 1 hour.

3. In the pie crust, alternate layers of banana slices and custard filling. (Eat some of the custard at this point to make sure it tastes all right.) Cover and chill. To serve, top with whipped cream and decorate with some more sliced bananas. (I didn’t do the extra bananas because I am lazy.)