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It’s Banana Cream Pie Day—A Great Excuse To Bake This Filipino Version Of An American Classic

One of my all-time favorite treats is all-American banana cream pie. The irony of this wonderful dessert is that bananas are a tropical fruit, and the Philippines is one of the world’s top three banana exporters to America and Europe, raking in annual sales of US$ 1.1 billion! So, despite this humble pie’s Western origins, I am adopting this classic masterpiece as something that’s truly Filipino by infusing it with another iconic local staple—coconut!  

The combination of banana and coconut creates flavor that literally explodes in the mouth. The amazing contrast of textures brought about by the crisp, flaky crust, the creamy custard juxtaposed with the firm bite of the bananas, and the billowy whipped cream sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes makes this a refreshing dessert for both young and old alike.

 

Banana-Coconut Cream Pie

Serves 8

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 large lakatan or Cavendish bananas, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup moist coconut flakes, lightly toasted, for topping

 

SWEETENED WHIPPED CREAM:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (36% milkfat), very cold
  • 1/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

       

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine all-purpose flour, caster sugar, and fine sea salt in a mixing bowl, and mix well. Add unsalted butter and stir with a silicone spoon until mixture forms a dough.

3. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 1 1/2-inch deep pie pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Bake pie crust in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until crust is a deep golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove tart pan from oven and cool completely.

5. Once crust is cooled, arrange banana slices in the bottom of the baked crust. Top with the coconut custard filling (recipe below). Level the filling on top.

6. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the custard filling to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate pie for at least 4 hours to allow the custard to set.

7. To make the sweetened whipped cream, combine heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, and pure vanilla extract in a chilled mixer bowl. Using the wire whip attachment, whip mixture on medium speed to the stiff peak stage.

8. Pile the cream on top of the pie, spreading it to the edges of the pie. Use a spoon to create swirls and peaks on the cream.

9. Sprinkle top of the pie with toasted coconut flakes. Refrigerate pie until ready to serve.

 

COCONUT CUSTARD FILLING:

  • 2 1/2 cups good quality canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 7 medium egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

1. Place coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.

2. Combine caster sugar and cornstarch in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add egg yolks and whisk until blended.

3. Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly whisking in the hot coconut milk. Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until custard thickens. Continue cooking the custard for another minute, whisking continuously.

4. Remove saucepan from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter and vanilla extract.

 

This article first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 2, 2016
Photography by Paul del Rosario
Styling by Aby Nachura