The phrase 'cream pie' sounds so dated and evokes visions of jello pudding mix poured into premade pie crust, possibly available a la carte in the school cafeteria. That's a pretty harsh sentence for something as delicious as pie.
This peanut butter banana cream pie does absolutely everything right to dispel any misconceptions. Ripe bananas are folded into luscious, velvety pastry cream and poured into a graham cracker crust layered with dark chocolate and fresh ground peanut butter, then topped with fresh whipped cream.
For those of us more technically inclined, this pie is a lot of fun to make. You get to hit things, double boil things, whip hot things, whip cold things... I swear it's fun, and you feel like a fancy cook.
For pastry cream success, there are two tricks I learned not usually included in recipes:
1. Thoroughly whisk the sugar and cornstarch together before adding any wet ingredients. They help keep each other from clumping, keeping lumps out of your cream.
2. Add a little bit of the unheated milk to the egg yolks going into said sugar/cornstarch mixture. Many recipes call for beating just the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together, but sometimes this isn't enough moisture to realistically mix them. A little milk will make your life much easier.
I followed this well written recipe as printed by Joy the Baker. The bananas and whipped cream balance the richness of the pastry cream, while the dark chocolate and peanut butter balance the sweetness. Yeah, it was really good. The only quibble I had was after chilling the pie, the chocolate layer was hard and difficult to cut through. In the future I might mix in a little heavy cream with the melted chocolate to make a sort of spreadable ganache layer. Also, it says that the pastry cream mixture will take about 6 minutes to thicken up. For me, it was ready in more like two.
This is pie fit for birthday celebrations!