I Wanna Make Banana Love

Fern’s going to end up drenched in cranberry sauce before we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. She’s been infected by all the cooking she sees around her.

I’m sure that kitchen play is good for her brain, although the skills we’re currently mastering — peeling carrots, cracking eggs — are probably endangering her health, just slightly. And my sanity, quite a lot.

Ah, well, you know what they say — whatever doesn’t kill you just gives you a week of the runs.

Anyway, pretty much every morning of late she’s wanted to do a “cooking project” (school terminology). And yesterday, she wanted to make pie.

I never make pie. Working Mom does, occasionally, a sort of compote-in-crust thing, especially if we’ve been picking berries. But though I’m a bread-and-cake-and-cookies guy, I gamely faced my fate.

Pumpkin is pretty much the only pie I’d know how to make and that we have ready ingredients for. So I did that thing you do with kids… changing expectations through gentle manipulation.

Fern: “I want to make pie!”

DD: “OK, you want to make pumpkin pie! Let’s get the canned pumpkin out!”

Fern: “No, I want to make banana pie!”

DD (knowing that we don’t have any bananas except the overripe ones I keep in the freezer for bread): “Great, let’s make some banana bread! I love banana bread!”

Fern: “No, I want to make banana pie!”

Yipes. I have never made a banana cream pie. I have never made a cream pie of any sort.

And yes, I have no bananas. Or banana pudding, or hell, anything except a freakin’ stubborn three-year old chef — oh, did I say that out loud?

Amazingly, we managed. Here, with adaptations to suit the savage three-year old, is Fern’s contribution to our holiday table:

Fern’s Banana Bread Pie

First of all, get your kid involved. You want some serious CYA for this one.


Buy a pie crust. People who try make their own pie crusts are either crazy and fail (like me) or some kind of witch. Don’t be a witch. C’mon, now, just keep a couple in your fridge or freezer.

Bake the crust empty according to the instructions, but under-do it a little; we’re going to bake it for a few minutes with the filling.

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 beaten egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed


  1. Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and half(ish) the milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly. Add the rest of the milk a bit at a time, trying to smooth out lumps, until it’s bubbly and slightly thickened. This took me about 25 minutes. It’s a good time to thaw and mash the bananas. (I keep my overripe bananas in cling wrap in the freezer, which is a really great place for them.)

  2. Pour a half-cup of the mixture into the egg yolks and mix it up, then dump it back in the pot and keep stirring. (You do the pre-mix thing to keep the eggs from cooking immediately.)

  3. Keep stirring. Maybe 3-5 minutes more to go now. Good time to melt the butter.

  4. Lower the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Keep stirring. You getting pudding-y yet?

  5. Take off the heat and add in the mashed bananas. Stir some more.

  6. Pour your now lovely pudding-like filling into the pie crust.

  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Then chill it for an hour or until Thanksgiving guests arrive. Serve with whipped cream.

The result? Banana Bread Pie. I am truly amazed to say that it actually came out pretty well — tasty if not beautiful — given that Fern and the Internet were making most of it up.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Or, if you’re from one of those countries where you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, or you do but not today, then, well, whatevs.