I always cringe when my husband starts off the conversation with, “You know what I’ve been craving?” Inevitably it’s something like double stuffed Oreos, strawberry Jello, or chocolate milk. Last week he uttered those dreaded words once again as I was heading out the door to the market.
“What?” I asked, bracing myself.
“Banana Pudding.” he replied.
In the grocery store aisle I stood scanning the wall of instant pudding in front of me. As easy as it may be to whisk milk into a dubious powdery substance, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Instead, I left with a bunch of bananas and the determination to create something marginally healthier. A trip through my grandmother’s recipe box gave me the answer. Banana Cream Pie, made in the old fashioned way with the purest and most simple ingredients. Kitchy and vintage; I remember my grandmother serving this in her milk glass Pyrex pie plate, the one with the brown flower motif. I adapted her recipe making it more modern, cutting the sugar, and simplifying the cooking process. The result is a vintage banana cream pie that is thoroughly modern and so easy to throw together. The perfect cool, creamy dessert for a late summer evening!
Vintage Banana Cream Pie (from Pure and Peanut Free)
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (this is one individual package of Honey Maid graham crackers)
6 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
For the filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks, at room temperature and beaten
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 375 F (190 C). Lightly butter a 9 inch pie plate. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while you make the filling.
In a medium sauce pan, whisk the sugar, flour, and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until thick and bubbling, whisking continuously. Cook a minute longer. Remove the pan from the heat. Temper the eggs by whisking a quarter cup of this filling into the egg yolks. Then pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan with the filling and whisk to combine. Place to pan back on the heat and bring to a boil. Cook one or two minutes longer, whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Cool slightly.
Slice two of the bananas (reserve the third for garnishing just before serving) and arrange the slices in concentric circles on the crust. Pour over the filling and spread evenly into crust. Refrigerate until chilled through. Just before serving slice the third banana and arrange on top. (Serve the pie on the day it’s made, otherwise the bananas will discolor.)