With a layer of peanut butter topped with sliced bananas, vanilla pastry cream, and plenty of whipped cream, this peanut butter banana cream pie is spring dessert perfection.
Hey hey! How’s your April almost-May going? Mine is going fast. FAST! Too fast I think.
This is the first time in my life I’ve felt like I don’t have enough hours in the day. Being smack in the middle of moving is taking its toll; between packing, blogging, and life in general, I’m wondering if I could get by with just two hours of sleep instead of my usual five. Probably not; even my insomnia has its limits.
I actually forgot to feed Cookie until 7 o’clock yesterday. I was so busy making this pie that somehow breakfast for the poor little thing just slipped my mind. I gave her a slice of banana with a little dab of peanut butter so she could understand why my focus was elsewhere.
She’s forgiven me I think—for forgetting her breakfast. She’s still undecided on the whole “my stuff is in boxes” thing.
This peanut butter banana cream pie is ridiculous. I often mention that I’m writing while in the middle of a sugar-induced migraine. (It’s true. Sugar is a trigger for me. Womp-womp.)
I truly hope that someday I’ll learn better self-control and won’t have to write while I can’t actually see straight, but once you taste this pie you’ll understand my issue.
As I was trying to cut a perfectly photogenic slice—no easy task where pie is involved—I licked the pastry cream off my knife and got a little hint of banana in there. So naturally I decided I should try the peanut butter with the pastry cream, too. Why not?
Then I wanted to get a couple of peanuts to make sure the crunch was just right. (It was.) Then a bite of them all together. Then I stopped making excuses and just ate the first (mangled) piece.
Then I put the pie in the freezer in hopes that I could avoid destroying (and eating) the second piece.
(And what do you know? Success! Thank you, technology! Just imagine if I were trying to get this photo in pioneer times!)
We’re talking a layer of salty peanut butter, a layer of sweet vanilla pastry cream, a layer of whipped cream AND bananas and salted peanuts mixed in. YOU GUYS! It’s exactly as good as you’re imagining.
I recommend making the pie the day before you serve it (it needs to refrigerate for a few hours anyway) so the banana flavor can infuse the pastry cream a bit. Every bite is just sheer perfection. Sweet, salty, crunchy, banana-y. It hits all the notes you want in a dessert. And for some reason it just seems ideal for a spring BBQ or summer picnic.
Can you even wait for picnic season? I cannot! Happy Thursday!
- Half a vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup + 2 tabxlespoons whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 9-inch pie crust (a single crust, not double)
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 medium bananas, ripe but not too brown
- 1 cup heavy cream, very cold
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- additional salted peanuts for garnish, if desired
- Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Reserve the seeds; place the pod in a small saucepan with the milk and heavy cream. Set pan aside.
- Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a small mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla bean seeds; whisk vigorously for several minutes, until ingredients are well combined and the egg yolks are smooth and pale yellow. (This is your pre-pie eating workout.)
- Set the pan with the milk and heavy cream over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture just begins to steam and bubble a bit around the edges of the pan.
- Remove pan from the heat and gradually add about a 1/2 cup of the warm mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk to combine, then pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and set pan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. (This will happen fairly quickly so don’t turn your back on the pan.) If the mixture seems to be getting too hot, remove it from the heat briefly or lower the heat.
- Allow mixture to boil for 1 minute, still whisking constantly. The pastry cream should be very thick; if it hasn’t thickened continue cooking and whisking. Remove from the heat and pour pastry cream into a small mixing bowl. Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard. Stir the pastry cream to release some of the heat and cool it to between 140 and 150 degrees. (I used a candy thermometer to measure the temp.)
- Place the pastry cream in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until butter is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and salt and pulse to combine.
- Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl and place it over another bowl filled with ice water. Allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature over the bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until completely cool, 3 to 4 hours.
- Blind bake your pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan according to the directions on the box. Cool pie crust completely before filling.
- Once crust is cool, place the peanut butter and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat until the peanut butter is somewhat liquid-y—you want to be able to spread it easily. Stir in the sugar until combined, then pour the mixture into the cooled crust. Top with salted peanuts. Refrigerate until the peanut butter sets up, about 20 minutes.
- Slice the bananas into 1/4-inch slices. Top the peanut butter layer with half of the bananas. Spread the cooled pastry cream on top of the bananas and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Top with the remaining bananas.
- Place the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until the cream holds stiff peaks.
- Spread the whipped cream over the pie, using an offset spatula to create swirls in the whipped cream.
- Top with additional peanuts, if desired. Refrigerate for 3 hours, then serve and enjoy.
Adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook