I knew my brain was tired when I misread kola nuts as “koala nuts” a few days ago. I was reading a line of food trivia about their caffeine content. And then I read it again. And then I sat there wondering why koalas have caffeine in their nuts and how it got there. Was it there naturally? Too much Red Bull? And then I read that bit of trivia one more time. KOLA. Kola nuts.
I’m telling you this so that you won’t feel bad when I now tell you about my Epic Flash of Greatness, this Peanut Butter and Banana Cream Pie, the bastard child of this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe (Banana Cream Pie) and this month’s You Want Pies With That? challenge.
Yesssssss! It’s like writing one term paper and turning it in to two different professors. Huzzah!
This month’s YWPWT challenge is to make a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Pie based on someone famous, so this is my Hunk-a-Hunk-a Peanut Butter and Banana Cream Pie, based on the Lord of Graceland, Elvis Presley. I started with a vanilla wafer crust, spread on a layer of Dorie’s extra-rich banana cream, cover it in banana slices, spread on a layer of peanut butter cream, pipe on Dorie’s pie topping and sprinkle the pie with two handfuls of chopped peanuts.
For easy slicing, slide the pie into the freezer and then go out and buy all of your friends Cadillacs (like the King!), tease Priscilla’s hair (like the King!), do karate kicks in a sequined jumpsuit (like the King!), grow some muttonchops (like the King!) and only THEN will you be worthy to cut yourself a slice of this pie.
Rich and kitsch. Like the King!
Hunk-a Hunk-a Peanut Butter and Banana Cream Pie
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Banana Cream Pie in “Baking: From My Home to Yours” and the Peanut Butter Cream Pie in “Bon Appetit”(May 2009)
- 1 9-inch Vanilla Wafer Crust, baked and cooled (recipe below)
Banana Cream Filling:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
- 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 3 ripe but firm bananas
Peanut Butter Cream Filling:
- 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 cup chopped peanuts
- To Make the Banana Custard: Bring milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well blended and thick. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 of the hot milk to temper the yolks. Still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
- Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes before removing from heat.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. You can either press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard until cold or, if you want to cool the custard quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir occasionally until the custard is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
- When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about one quarter of it over the bottom of the Vanilla Wafer Crust. Top with half of the banana slices. Repeat, adding a thin layer of pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry cream over the last layer of bananas.
- For the Peanut Butter Cream Filling: Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and peanut butter.
- In a second bowl, whip cream until firm peaks form.
- Fold a large spoonful of whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to loosen, then fold in the remaining cream in two additions.
- Spread peanut butter layer over bananas. Chill at least 3 hours.
- To Make the Topping: Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the sour cream.
- To Finish: Spoon the whipped cream over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard. Serve, or refrigerate until needed.
Vanilla Wafer Crust
- 6 ounces vanilla wafer cookies (Or, about 4 cups of crumbled cookies to get the required 1 3/4 cup crumbs.)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted (3/4 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the ingredients in a food processor. Blend about 1 minute until you get fine, moist crumbs.
- Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch pie pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake for about 12 minutes. Let it cool completely on a wire rack before filling.