Listen. I don’t even like banana cream pie, but after watching the Christina Tosi episode of Mind of a Chef, I decided to give it a try.
IT. DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT.
I officially love banana cream pie now. This version of it, anyway. Instead of using a chocolate cookie crust as traditionally used in Momofuku’s version, I decided to use Speculoos cookies, because I love them. This recipe also uses a large amount of food coloring; where a few drops would usually suffice, 1/2 tsp is needed to offset the color of the overripe bananas.
You’ll need to do a little pre-planning to make this because you’ll need super duper ripe bananas. Black bananas. Overripe bananas. This is when the bananas are at their most… banana-y. Waiting around for them to ripen was worth the fruit flies, but if you don’t want to wait that long, place the bananas in a brown paper bag. That should help speed up the ripening process.
Let’s start with the crust.
- for the crust
- 1 3/4 cups speculoos cookie crumbs (~1 box of cookies)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- for the filling
- 2 overly ripe bananas, skin should be black all over
- 1 perfectly ripe banana
- 1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup heavy cream, separated
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- for the crust
- Pulse cookies in a food processor until they are the texture of sand and there are no larger chunks remaining. Place in a medium bowl and stir in sugar and salt. Add in melted butter and work into the crumbs until the mixture comes together into a ball. Add additional melted butter if necessary.
- Place the cookie crust mixture in a 10-inch pie tin. Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the cookie crust firmly into the tin, making sure the crust is evenly distributed across the bottom and up the sides. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and let the crust chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- for the filling
- In a medium bowl, combine the two overly ripe bananas, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of milk and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tbsp corn starch, 1/2 tsp salt and 3 egg yolks and blend until completely incorporated. Alternately, you can use a blender for this process. Place the banana cream mixture in a medium sauce pan.
- Prepare the gelatin by placing 2 tbsp cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the water and let bloom - about 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Place the banana cream mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. As the mixture heats, it will begin to thicken - don’t try to rush this process by turning up the heat, or you’ll end up with scrambled banana eggs (blech!). Once the mixture comes to a boil (you’ll see large bubbles appear on the surface), continue to whisk for about 2 more minutes to cook out the cornstarch. The mixture will look like thick glue.
- Place the banana cream mixture back into the bowl (or blender canister, if using), and add in the bloomed gelatin and 3 tbsp of butter. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Add in 1/2 tsp of yellow food coloring. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the banana cream mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool, 45-60 minutes.
- Once the banana cream mixture has cooled, start on the whipped cream by combining 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Alternately, you can use a hand mixer. Whisk the cream and sugar until soft peaks form - mounds of whipped cream should just hold their shape - taking care not to overmix (or you’ll end up with butter).
- Add the chilled banana cream mixture to the whipped cream and slowly whisk until combined. You should have a pale yellow banana cream filling.
- Pour half of the banana cream into the speculoos pie shell. Slice the remaining perfectly ripe banana and cover the bottom layer of cream. Cover bananas with the remaining cream filling. Eat within a day (that shouldn’t be a problem).