Baked Sunday Mornings: Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

I was pretty optimistic about this week's recipe for Baked Sunday Mornings, "Peanut Butter and Banana Cream Pie."  I often have problems making fruit pies (see, e.g., here and here), but a cookie crust filled with pudding, bananas, and peanut butter cream should be pretty easy.

The crust for this pie is made from vanilla wafers, sugar, and cold butter ground together in a food processor, pressed into a pan, and then baked until golden brown. (The recipe includes a note that the crust comes out best when the pie is made in a glass pie plate, so that's what I used.) I found that I had a lot of crust mixture; I didn't use it all, because I didn't want the crust to be too thick. You fill the cooled crust with vanilla pudding (sugar, cornstarch, salt, heavy cream, milk, egg yolks, vanilla bean seeds, and butter), add a layer of sliced bananas tossed in orange juice, and then finish off the pie with a peanut butter topping (cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and whipped cream). The recommended garnish is chocolate-covered peanuts and more sliced bananas.

I didn't have any chocolate-covered peanuts, and so I garnished my pie with a ring of Sweetriot dark chocolate-covered cacao nibs instead.  I skipped the additional slices of banana on top. I refrigerated the pie overnight before cutting into it, and I immediately noticed a problem with the pudding. It was loose and had not set properly. When I made the pudding on the stove, it thickened and I had every reason to believe that it would firm up to the proper texture after being chilled. But when I cut into the pie, pudding was spilling out and creating a big mess (I was able to get out one tidy slice for the photo above).

The loose pudding problem was bad enough that I decided the pie wasn't suitable to serve to anyone else. Nonetheless, it was pretty tasty. The bottom half of this pie is basically just a banana pudding -- vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, and bananas. (It's not as good as the banana pudding from DamGoodSweet I made recently, but it's up there.) I'm a bit ambivalent about the peanut butter layer. When I took my first bite of pie, I thought that the peanut butter flavor was too subtle (there is only one-third cup of creamy peanut butter in the topping); it left me wanting more. However, I noticed that the peanut butter flavor seemed to intensify over time. By day three after baking, I thought that the flavor of the peanut butter topping was perfect. That said, I am not a huge fan of peanut butter and banana together, and I think I would have actually preferred this pie with straight whipped cream on top. I also think this pie needed more banana flavor, so my bad for not adding more bananas on top.

I assume the problem with the pudding texture was probably my fault. This recipe is available on epicurious.com and the vast majority of reviews don't mention any problem with the pudding consistency. All in all, I didn't love the pie, but I enjoyed eating my messy slices.

Recipe: "Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie," from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings, or here on epicurious.com.

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Comments

Kris' Kitchen said…
I had to add chocolate to this pie...for a party...and I'm not a huge chocolate with peanut butter fan, but this pie worked for me. Maybe it worked because the peanut butter flavor was so subtle? I really liked this pie, but I'm making it again and will chill it to see if my slices come out better...the party was outside in the AZ heat, but it held up better than I expected. You have me curious now. I think your pie looks great for others to eat...I'm sure anyone could like this pie.
Candy said…
I liked this pie too and noticed the filling was loose, but I've only cut one piece and that was after it chilled for only an hour. I typically find that creme pies are inherently messy! Your pie looks great!
Elaine said…
Your pie is so pretty with the cacoa nibs. In the photo it doesn't look like your pudding is that loose - it looks like mine did after 3 hours, but my pudding and topping did firm up more after about 5 hours in the fridge. I'm glad you liked it and I think making it with just a whipped cream topping is a great idea and would really make it more like banana pudding with cookies.
Chelly said…
My pudding was just a tad loose also....but it sure was tasty! I agree with Kris...your pie looks very suitable for others to eat!!!
Bourbonnatrix said…
your pie looks great! i'd eat it ;) i didn't add bananas to the top either... i just don't know how to make sliced bananas look good...
Rebecca said…
Your pie looks really great! I did not have a problem with runny pudding, but I made mine chocolate, so that may have had something to do with it. I like the way your garnish looks.
Sheri said…
I had loose filling when I cut into it a few hours after chilling, but the next day it was fine. Yours looks so good.
Robyn said…
interesting how the boys say in the recipe that the pie is best eaten within 24 hrs, but you showed us it got better by day 3!
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Susan said…
I skipped this one, but I think your pie looks great.

Enjoy your week!
Louise said…
This doesn't look like one of BAKED's better desserts. If I want bananas, I think I'll stick with Banoffee Pie.