I think America should throw out the saying, “As American as apple pie,” and replace it with “As American as banana cream pie.” I love apple pie, but if you put a slice of apple pie next to a slice of banana cream pie, I’d choose the banana cream every time.
I think most of America feels the same, but I put my theory to the test. I called a specialist to see which pie was the best selling, and according to Amanda, at my local Marie Callender’s Restaurant, more banana cream pies are sold than any other pie. There you have it! It’s time to change the nation's slogan.
I found this recipe over 20 years ago on the back of a 5-pound bag of C and H sugar. Most of the words are illegible from spilling milk, vanilla, and eggs on it(I'm a messy cook), but I’ve made it so many times I have it memorized. The beauty of this recipe is you can make four variations of cream pies with it.
VELVET-SMOOTH CREAM PIES
3/4 cup sugar 1/3 cup flour 1/4 tsp salt 3 eggs yolks or 2 whole eggs 2 cups milk 1 Tbsp. butter 1 tsp. vanilla 1- 9" pastry shell (baked and cooled)
Combine sugar, flour, and salt in medium saucepan. Stir until blended. In separate bowl whisk egg yolks (or whole eggs) into milk and pour into flour/sugar mixture. Beat with a whisk until smooth. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and whisking until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool 5 minutes. Pour into pastry shell and chill until set.
MAKES ONE PIE
Banana Cream Pie: Make basic filling and cool. Slice 2 or 3 ripe bananas in bottom of baked pie shell. Add cooled filling and chill. Serve with whipped cream topping. (If the whole pie isn’t going to all be eaten that day, I slice fresh bananas on top of the whipped topping on each individual piece.
Chocolate Cream Pie: Make basic filling. Add ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips to hot thickened filling in saucepan. Stir until completely melted. Pour into cooled shell and chill. Spread with whipped topping and garnish with shaved chocolate.
Coconut Cream Pie: Stir 1 cup flaked coconut into basic filling before pouring into pie shell. Top with meringue or whipped cream topping. Garnish with toasted coconut.
Butterscotch Cream Pie: Add ¾ cup brown sugar instead of granulated sugar to basic recipe. Make as directed. Increase butter to 3 Tbsp. Top with meringue or whipped topping.
If made with 2 whole eggs it can appear lumpy. Using an electric mixer to hot thickened filling works quite well to smooth out lumps.