My visit to my parents in L.A. culminated in the baking of a banana cream pie. This pie has great significance in my life because banana cream pie was how my mom got my dad to marry her. If it wasn't for banana cream pie I would not have been born. Banana Cream was my dad's favorite pie, so back in 1958 my mom invited him over for supper at her bachelorette apartment, served him a tuna casserole followed by this luscious dessert, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I have always wanted to get the recipe for this famous "marriage pie" and finally I pinned my mom down for a look into her kitchen files.
The recipe, as it turns out, simply came from the old Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Published in 1953, my mom still has her original copy (pictured left), though it is difficult to read the stained and shredded pages. Luckily the company published this SAME cookbook, word for word, just a few years ago so she also has a new, clean copy too.
We set about our pie making task, a rare joint effort. She hasn't made banana cream pie from scratch since the invention of instant pudding. Quelle horreur! But at my insistence, she rummaged in the cupboards for the necessary ingredients such as cornstarch, sugar, eggs and vanilla (all were on hand) and we got started.
I made the dough, laying it directly on her granite countertops for rolling and discovered our first difference of opinion. "I never do it like that," she said. "I roll it between wax paper." But she was open to my technique (just sprinkle flour to stop the sticking), she took charge of the rolling pin (a wedding present she got from her mother-in-law) and we proceeded to the next step.
"I can't eat bananas," she said. So we created a banana free zone allowing for her to have a wedge of just the vanilla pudding.
And finally the pie came out of the oven. My dad, who has been used to the instant pudding/graham cracker crust easy version for the last 20 years couldn't stop raving about what a great pie this was. So great was it that the pie plate was scraped clean by the three of us within one day. "I guess I'm going to have to start making it from scratch again," she laughed.
I couldn't help but note what a loving thing that was for her to say. My parents will celebrate FIFTY (50!!) years of marriage in June (2009) and she still likes making my dad his favorite pie.