I’m an admitted picky pie person. Fruit pies just aren’t my thing, much to my husband’s chagrin. I’m not saying I don’t like fruit desserts, that’s not it at all! I love a good crisp, cobbler or shortcake. I’m just not into fruit pies. I’ll take one for the team and bake one up a couple of times a year, and I may even enjoy it (see my Salted Caramel Apple Pie post here), but my fruit pie baking days are few and far between.
I do, however, really enjoy cream pies. French Silk, Banana Cream, Lemon Meringue…now you’re talking!
When I came across this recipe in my The Best of Cooking Light cookbook, I knew I had to try it. The name “Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie” alone just sounds too good to pass up! Looking over the recipe, it was surprisingly easy AND since it’s from Cooking Light, we didn’t feel quite as guilty as we each reached for “just another sliver” once we’d finished our first piece.
To begin, you’ll need to bake up a single pie crust and cool it, completely. You could make your own crust, if you want. I was short on time, so I used a refrigerated pie crust.
Once the pie crust is cool, you can start the chocolate base. You’ll stir together a mixture of cornstarch, sugar, unsweetened cocoa, and a bit of salt in a small saucepan. Gradually whisk in some milk, until it’s nice and smooth. Then, heat the chocolate mixture a bit on the stove, before adding some chopped semisweet chocolate.
Once the chocolate is added, continue stirring it until it comes to a boil. It will thicken quickly, and be ready to spread in the crust after about a minute or so.
Once I had the chocolate in the pie plate, I started on the vanilla custard middle. The bananas would actually need to go on top of the chocolate, but I didn’t want to slice them up and risk them browning up before I was ready to top them with the custard.
The custard comes together quickly on the stove top and then, to amp up the yum-factor, just a bit of cream cheese is whipped into the custard at the end. Once the pudding was ready, I topped the chocolate with sliced banana.
Then, I spread that creamy, vanilla custard over the bananas.
Now, the pie needed to hang out in the fridge for a bit before the whipped topping was added. I didn’t want the custard to form a skin on top as it cooled, so I carefully laid some plastic wrap directly on the custard before I popped the pie into the fridge.
After the pie had chilled for about 3 hours, I removed it from the refrigerator, peeled off the plastic wrap and topped it with some Cool Whip. I’ll admit, Cooking Light told me to only use 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip. That would have resulted in a really thin top layer. I’m sure it would have been just as delicious, but I used an entire 8 oz. container (the smallest container of Cool Whip in the freezer section). It just made for a prettier pie! I sprinkled the top with some mini chocolate chips, carefully covered it with another sheet of plastic wrap and put it back into the fridge until we were ready to dive in.
Honestly, it took everything I had not to dive in until after dinner (I’m still working on the whole idea of dessert as an appetizer thing), but we did…and it was DELICIOUS! My daughter asked if I could make this every day. That probably won’t happen, but it is going on my “Make Again and Again and Again” list. The chocolate, banana, and vanilla came together beautifully and despite such “rich” layers, the pie was surprisingly light and didn’t weigh us down after dinner. Also, a big pie complaint of mine is soggy crust. I never eat leftover fruit pie because I just can’t get past the crust getting soggy. This crust was perfectly crisp the first night and just as crisp the second night…when my family finished it off!
BLACK BOTTOM BANANA CREAM PIE
Adapted from Cooking Light
- 1 9-inch pie crust, baked and cooled
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- dash of salt
- 1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups sliced ripe (but not overripe) bananas, about 2 large
- 8 oz. tub frozen low-fat/fat-free whipped topping, thawed
- chocolate curls or mini chocolate chips, optional
- Prepare pie crust. Make sure it is cooled completely.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sugar, cocoa, and dash of salt. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup of the milk, whisking until smooth. Cook for about 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in chopped chocolate, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until thickened. Spread chocolate mixture into the bottom of the cooled crust.
- Combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup of the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the eggs, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for one minute, until thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and light, about 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup of the hot custard to the cream cheese and beat, just until blended. Stir the cream cheese mixture into the remaining hot custard.
- Slice the bananas and arrange the slices from edge to edge over the chocolate layer. Spoon the custard over the bananas and smooth out to cover. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard and chill the pie for 3-4 hours. Remove the plastic wrap and spread the whipped topping over the custard. Garnish with chocolate curls or mini chocolate chips. Chill until ready to serve.