Pi Day: Banana Cream Pie with Coconut Graham Crust
It's Pi Day! The day in which we celebrate the infinite mathematical number whose first three digits happen to coincide with this date! And how to we celebrate this "holiday?" By eating the desert which phonetically shares the same name. Makes so much sense! But seriously, there is literally no bad time for pie. Holidays, weddings, Tuesdays, mornings, funerals, the opera, museums, while crying, dancing, or singing, etc..
Most of the time, when you end up with over ripe bananas, people would usually just make banana bread. Maybe after this post you will be like me and only want to make banana cream pie instead. My mom used to make banana cream pie for me when I was growing up and it is really just a classic comfort food. She would buy Jell-O banana pudding mix and a pre-made graham cracker crust and a fresh banana or two. Simple, easy, and remnant from the days of 60's and 70's pre-packaged cooking.
One of my favorite cook books for any sort of baking is the Momofuku Milkbar cookbook. All of the recipes are really unique, if not complicated. Their Banana cream pie recipe though is fairly easy to work though. Have you ever made banana cream from scratch? Cause I don't think I will ever make the box version of banana pudding ever again. The original recipe from the book makes the pie with a dark chocolate crust. While a dark chocolate crust is delicious paired against the banana flavor, it was just a little rich and heavy for me. Below I am just using the banana cream filling.
I came across a recipe from Bon Appetit for coconut cream pie and thought that frankensteining a coconut crust and banana cream would be just the thing. Who doesn't like banana and coconut? If you don't like banana and/or coconut then just get out of here. I don't even know why you continued read past the title.
A couple of notes before you start the recipe; Think about this a couple of days ahead. You will want to put some overripe bananas in the freezer at least a day ahead of time, and then take them out of the freezer to thaw completely before using. Additionally, I let this pie chill in the fridge overnight before cutting into as it allows everything to set.
Also, don't be like me and make sure that when you blend your graham crackers, that the crumb is fine and sand like. My graham cracker wasn't quite ground fine enough and once the whole pie was assembled and chilled, the crust just fell apart when I scooped a slice out of the pie dish. Hence the reason there are no pictures of the pie sliced... Oops.
For reference here is a video of the banana cream pie recipe. This originally aired on PBS, so I couldn't find a good link. The frame is backwards, but it works if you want to get an idea of how the recipe will play out. If you zoom to minute 14:05 in the video, this is where the banana cream pie recipe is hiding. Additionally, here is a video of the coconut cream pie recipe that the coconut crust is inspired from.
Banana Cream Pie with Coconut Crust
3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
7 graham crackers
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter, melted and then cooled.
1 egg yolk
2 overly ripe, frozen then thawed, bananas
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 egg yolks
1 and 1/14 tsp powdered gelatin
3 tbsp butter
yellow food coloring
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
One fresh banana, sliced.
Coconut Graham Crust
Preheat your over to 350 degrees and arrange shredded coconut on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake coconut for about 6 minutes or until coconut if a golden color and fragrant. Remove from the oven and let coconut cool completely.
Pulse graham crackers, coconut, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until the consistency of fine sand. Stream in melted butter while processor is running, then add the egg yolk.
Turn off the food processor and feel the graham mixture, if it is moist and holds it's shape when pressed together then you are good to go.
Pour the Graham mixture into a glass pie dish and firmly press along the sides and bottom of the dish until evenly distributed.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool completely.
Remove the Bananas from their peel and deposit them into a blender along with the 1/3 cup of cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks and blend until completely smooth.
In a small bowl or cup with two tbsp of cold water bloom the gelatin. To bloom gelatin, gently sprinkle the powder across the surface of the water to evenly distribute. All of the gelatin granolas must be in contact with the water to bloom correctly. Of the gelatin is just dumped on top of the water, then it will not bloom properly.
Now, take your banana mixture and transfer this to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat while whisking constantly. It will take a few minutes, but the banana mixture will begin to thicken and thicken fast. Once the consistency is super thick, return the blender and add the bloomed gelatin and the butter. Blend until completely smooth and then add the food coloring.
Transfer the banana mixture to a container and and refrigerate for a half hour to an hour, or until completely set. It will be semi-jello like, but this is normal.
In a new mixing bowl whisk together remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream and powdered sugar or just use an electric mixer/stand mixer if you don't want to exert that much arm strength. Whisk until soft peaks form. Add the cooled banana mixture until completely incorporated and smooth.
Pour half of your banana cream into your cooled graham cracker crust and then sprinkle sliced banana evenly across the pie. Top with remaining banana cream and smooth out the top. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for two hours or overnight.
Once chilled and set, top with fresh whipped cream and enjoy!