Soon after my parents were first married, my mom set about to make pies for a Sunday dinner at her new mother-in-law's house. She had heard my dad rave about how much he loved coconut cream pie and wanted to surprise him! After dinner, she asked the group cheerily, "Who would like some coconut cream pie?" My dad blurted out, "No, thanks. I can't stand coconut cream pie!" Turned out banana cream pie was his favorite, but my mom was sure he'd said coconut. Not one to just let things go, she cut him a big slice and set it in front of him. He put a lot of effort into eating every last bite!
So when Grandpa was scheduled to visit recently, we decided to make a banana -- not coconut! -- cream pie for him. This recipe for Creamy Banana Pie with Lemon Zest is an indulgent take on a basic custard filled pie. The bit of lemon adds a nice zing that complements the rich whipped cream.
Begin by making the pie crust. Mix the salt and flour together, then cut your butter into chunks and put it into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
Use a pastry cutter to break up the butter.
You can also do this in a food processor with a metal blade. Just pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then add 3 tablespoons ice water. I like to reserve a little out so I don't get the dough too wet.
Add the final Tablespoon if the mixture isn't mixing together. Then, press the dough together with your hands.
When it forms a ball, you're ready to roll out your crust!
Now roll the crust out and fold it in half, then quarters for easy moving to the pie pan.
Place the crust into the pie pan and carefully unfold.
When your crust is eased into your pan, fold the edges under (or trim any major excess) and make a pretty edge using your fingers and knuckles. No fancy equipment needed!
Then prick the crust all over with a fork and pop it into the oven. (If you'd like more detailed help with rolling out and making pie crusts, view the pie crust tutorial.)
While the crust is baking, start your custard. First, mix up the dry ingredients in your saucepan.
Then, add the milk and egg.
Now cook the mixture as directed until it thickens and bubbles. Then take it off the heat and add the butter, lemon peel and vanilla.
Stir until the butter is melted and you have a nice smooth custard.
Pour it into a glass bowl -- I used an 8 cup measuring cup that has a lid -- and pop it into the refrigerator to cool. I'm sure I don't need to remind you to lick the spatula. This is good stuff!
Now, do your dishes quick and take a couple hours off. Run an errand, do some gardening, read a report, or just make some tea and relax on the porch.
OK, now, back to your pie, about two hours later ... Time to whip up some cream and dip some banana slices in lemon. Then we're ready to assemble a beautiful pie!
I found it easiest to just put the lemon juice in a bowl and gently stir in the banana slices until coated.
Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, and then fold it into the chilled custard with the lemon-coated bananas.
This looks so good! Now, it's time to pile the luscious filling into the crust. In this case, my crust didn't turn out so well -- it slumped down in the pie pan -- but the addition of the banana cream filling masks all my flaws very nicely! (Note on my crust: I asked the Test Kitchens what went wrong, and they advised me to make sure I prick my crust all over well and to make sure my crust extends slightly over the top of the pie pan -- even crimping the crust a bit over the top edge to help it stay put. The glass pie pan I was using doesn't have a flat lip around the edge, so there isn't much for the crust to hang on to. Try this link to an official pie crust FAQ for more details. I look forward to trying again, perhaps on a blueberry pie ...)
Smooth out the top and your pie is ready for the final chilling -- about 5 hours.
Well, in my opinion this pie needs absolutely nothing else, but for fun go ahead and add the extra bananas and the simple glaze.
The bananas and glaze do make a very nice presentation. A fabulous pie fit for a king ...
... or Grandpa Pat!
My mom was known to recount the coconut cream pie story many times, each time ending with that 'now you know better' smile toward Grandpa Pat. I'm not sure if she ever did make a banana cream pie for my dad, but we've made a few for him since she's been gone.
This Creamy Banana Pie with Lemon Zest is incredibly rich and light, with a nice kiss of lemon. If you happen to like both coconut and banana cream, you might try the Coconut-Banana Cream Pie -- an interesting recipe with a coconut crust. Try a pie and let me know how it goes -- I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment here or rate and review the recipe on the recipe itself.
Be sure to stop back in a few days when Joe & I do some grilling and find delicious uses for caramelized onion butter and other flavored butters...
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz™ Blog.