March 2 is National Banana Cream Pie Day. Benny’s Chop House of Chicago shares a little Banana Cream Pie History along with a delectable Banana Cream Pie recipe, courtesy of Pastry Chef Aaron Lindgren.
People have been making pies filled with cream, pudding, and custard since the medieval times. Similar inventions from that era include Napoleons, cream puffs, and éclairs. Bananas arrived in the United States in the 1880s. By the early 1900s, banana recipes appeared in every major cookbook across the country. Traditional banana cream pie recipes call for a crust made out of graham crackers or pastry dough; a layer of sliced bananas; a custard filling made with eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla; and a topping of whipped cream or meringue. Banana Cream Pie was voted the soldiers’ favorite dessert in a survey conducted by the US Armed Forces in 1951.
Pastry Chef Lindgren has taken the finest ingredients and created a traditional version that, in its elegant simplicity, showcases banana cream pie at its smoothest, creamiest best. His combination of rich banana filling, brown-buttered graham cracker crust, and smooth whipped cream form a heavenly blend of flavors and textures. If you’re in Chicago, celebrate National Banana Cream Pie day at Benny’s Chop House, located at 444 N. Wabash Ave.
Pastry Chef Aaron Lingren’s Banana Cream Pie Recipe
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups milk
- 2 egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ripe bananas (large)
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped, sweetened with a little powdered sugar and a drop of vanilla extracts
- Vanilla extracts (one or two drops for whipped cream).
- 2 Cups Graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ Cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt for crust
- 4 oz. Butter (melted)
Graham cracker shell:
- Toast graham cracker crumbs and combine with melted butter, sugar, and salt. Fill pie pan with crumb mixture by pressing into a shell shape with the palm of the hand. Toast again until it browns lightly. Cool, and set aside.
- Mix sugar with flour and salt in top of a double boiler. Gradually stir in milk; continue cooking, stirring constantly, over boiling water until thickened. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To the beaten egg add a small amount of the milk mixture while stirring vigorously; return egg mixture to the milk mixture in the double boiler and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 more minutes over hot water (not boiling). Remove from heat; add butter, salt and vanilla then cool.
- Slice 2 large bananas into the baked pie shell. Pour cooked mixture over bananas all at once. Chill for 1 hour or more. Just before serving, cover custard with the thinly sliced remaining banana. Whip cream to soft peaks, add vanilla and sugar. Finish by garnishing pie with clouds of soft whipped cream.