Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pi(e) Day: Banana Pudding Cream Pie

Yesterday was Pi Day! (3/14... 3.14... get it??) I don't claim to love math - quite the opposite, in fact - but Pi Day makes me happy because it always reminds me of my sorority sisters. As members of Pi Beta Phi, we always had to do something special on π day!

To celebrate at work, the folks on my floor had "Pi(e) Day" (of course!). For my contribution, I decided on something simple but delicious, and homemade, to boot (always better than anything store-bought!) - Banana Pudding Cream Pie. This is basically banana pudding in a pie pan, and it's super easy to make. In fact, I felt a lot like Sandra Lee - semi-home-made = 60% store-bought, 40% homemade! Call me bananas (pun intended...), but this pie was spot-on. Cool, creamy, crunchy, and might we go so far as to say, healthy?? There is fruit in it after all... Ha!

Want to make your own? Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 box of Nilla Wafers
  • 1 small box of banana-cream flavored sugar-free, low-calorie pudding (I used Jell-o brand)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
And here's what to do:

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Put mixing bowl and beater(s) to be used for whipped cream in the freezer to chill. 
2. Put ~35 Nilla Wafers in your food processor and blend until all cookies have been reduced to fine crumbs.

3. Pour melted butter and Nilla crumbs into pie pan; mix and smoosh (technical term) so that entire bottom of pan is covered (but not the sides).

4. Put pie pan in oven (preheated to 350*) to bake for about 15 minutes.
5. While crust is baking, thinly slice bananas (about 1/4" slices).

6.  Make pudding according to directions on package. Put in fridge to set.

7. Take a break to share delicious cupcakes you bought over the weekend with your husband. Red velvet is amazing. Nutella was also fantastic. Clearly I was on a sugar binge on Monday night. Oops.

8. Remove pie crust from oven and set aside to cool. In the mean time, make whipped cream. (Homemade is legit - a million times better than Cool Whip!) Pour heavy cream into mixer and set on medium high. Then leave it alone until soft peaks start to form. Once that happens, add powdered sugar and vanilla, and continue mixing until it reaches "whipped cream" consistency that you prefer. (Full disclosure - I got distracted and let mine go a little too long - it's a bit stiffer than I would have liked! Still delicious, though).

9. While cream is whipping, line edges of pie pan with whole Nilla Wafers.

10. Layer pudding, banana slices, and Nilla Wafers in pie pan. I started with a spoonful of pudding to make the base, then did bananas, wafers, pudding, wafers, bananas.


11. Spread whipped cream evenly over the top.

12. Insert toothpicks and cover with Saran wrap (the toothpicks are so the plastic doesn't stick to the whipped cream, of course!). Place in fridge to chill over night (overnight is ideal; as long as possible works well, too. The longer is has to sit and let the flavors mix and meld, the better!).

Done! Part of why I love this recipe is because each part can be done while you're waiting on another part - there's no just sitting and waiting for the crust to bake, or pudding to firm up, for example. It was ready to go in a snap, and I had the pie in the fridge and the kitchen cleaned up before one period of the Caps game was finished!

Note: vanilla pudding would work just fine, but I love the banana flavor. This would also be good with chocolate, but not quite as refreshing, I don't think!

As a final step (that I forgot to document), I drizzled caramel sauce over the top of the pie right before serving it. A little extra sweetness never hurt anyone - and in fact, I think it added just the right extra oomph! Wondering if my coworkers loved this treat? Well, the proof is in the pudding (pie):
Just 30 minutes after setting it out. Gone!

1 comment :

Caitlin said...

YUM YUM YUM!!! I want!