Sparkling New Home and A Sunny Recipe for Spring…Banana Mango Cream Pie

It’s been radio silent for a month or so here at Coco Cooks. Since the New Year , I haven’t been primarily busy with catering, but more holding down the day job, and moving into a new home. The catering  business is slow, but picking up for spring. Certain Someone has taken the plunge and purchased a fabulous town home for us. After a decade in my spacious yet cluttered condo, I should have known better. Moving is hard work and cleaning up afterwards to prep your home for rental even harder. It’s like erasing a decade. I purchased that home with the money my Mother left me after her death. It was the biggest decision I ever made . I took care of  my father there for a  while. It wasn’t ideal for either of us, but he got stronger and was well cared for until his death. So the house was filled with a little sorrow, but joy as well. It served a s the place where I really came of age on my own.The old condo was comforting and cozy. Then I met Certain Someone. It wasn’t our intention to move in together, as I just never really believed in it. But circumstances happen, and we did, and never looked back. It worked for both of us. But two people who have led full lives, tend to accumulate a lot of stuff.  Life was just getting cluttered. Certain Someone yearned to be up North in the Lincoln Park area, and now here we are.

I love the new town house. It has four stories and full of light. The  chefs kitchen is huge, with a large pantry to hold my many appliances and dry goods. The cabinets are ample. I have a double oven. Now my very used kitchen, looks manageable. It’s a show kitchen, but a practical one that will get its workout. I can house my catering supplies , cake decorating and crafting  supplies and equipment in the garage for storage, out of site. My favorite part is rooftop terrace where I like to enjoy a morning coffee or late night drink in the sun. I have such plans for the terrace. Some container gardening and a new Weber gas grill to entertain. Certain Someone is proud as a peacock. He did good and I’m glad he purchased this home with the thoughts of what features would make me happy as well. Now I just pray I can get a tenant in the old place.

I’ve been cooking , but resorting to old favorites, and nothing really to write about. Plus with Weight Watchers, it hasn’t made for much I want to share. I have lost 10 lbs thus far with Weight Watchers and another 10 prior since January. So a total of 20 lbs.With the move, I’m cognizant of what I’m eating but not so careful to count the points and as many days we we just grabbed what and where we could in transition. But its a lifestyle, and very easy to hope back onto. The four flights of stairs keep me leaner too.

So what am I doing  about to show you a decadent pie? Well I need to keep my baking skills up and Easter is approaching. I’ve been hearing everyone rave about Lucky Peach Magazine , and I went on Amazon and got issues 2 and 3 to see  what all the hype was about. When Certain Someone and I were  on a New York a few years back, I led him to a David Chang restaurant. Good, but too hipster  for him and he hated the fact he had to wait in line and eat elbow to elbow at the bar. I hear everyone rave about Chang’s Pastry Chef  Christina Tosi from Milk Bar. From what I’ve seen and heard of her desserts, she likes to use things like cornflakes, potato chips, and other processed things. But sneering or not, she is creative and has the chops and technique. So I was immediately captivated  by her recipes in the Sweet Spot Issue 2. Now mind you , I’ve just moved , and as it was bound to happen, while I thought I had everything needed for the recipe, I didn’t. So I made a few more substitutions  than planned. Tosi’s recipe is for a simple yet complex Banana Cream Pie made with bananas, aged  funky and sweet. Well I didn’t have days to wait and I’m impulsive. The markets in my new neighborhood , don’t have a discount rotting produce rack, like some other ones I know. But I did find some ripe  bananas  that weren’t too starchy. I decided to mix it up with a very ripe mango . Tosi adds food color for a cartoon like yellow, because the real color is more starchy white and gluelike. With the mango, I had a nice orange tint, but still added some golden food color. I was out of butter( Quel horror) and cheated and used butter flavored vegetable shortening for the chocolate crumb. Christina is very fussy and picky in her recipe writing, because she wants us to get it right. But I was confident in my baking ability to throw some caution to the wind and sub where I needed to.  I even ran out of whipping cream, and chilled up some evaporated milk for the final stage to whip. Don’t laugh.  It didn’t help that the recipe layout was a bit confusing ( the next page read bottom to top, rather than top to bottom)and I ended up using more cream in my cooked custard, and thereby depleting what I needed for the final stage of whipping.This Cream Pie process , reminded me more of the cooked banana pudding base my mother used to make . So how did it turn out? Naturally with substitutions the recipe is  seriously compromised. But what I got was a great pie , on the runnier side. I solved that dilemma by freezing it. Once frozen, and cut, the slices thawed into a nice creamy custard. In pastry workshops I’ve taken, most pastry components are always frozen to yield perfect assembly . This pie will do on a nice warm day on on your Easter Table. That’s what a good cook should be able to do. Turn around and save a situation.  I will give you my variation of how I made this pie, loosely inspired by Christina Tosi of Milk Bar .

Banana Mango Cream Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
A frozen Banana and mango cream pie very very loosely adapted from Christina Tosi's Banana Cream Pie.
  • Chocolate crumbs need
  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ⅔ dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Pie Filling needs
  • 1 very ripe banana ( peeled)
  • 1 very ripe mango ( peeled)
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp Heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • several drops of gold or yellow food coloring
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • Final finish of pie crust crumbs need
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp melted butter
  1. First assemble the chocolate crumb for the crust.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 F
  3. Melt butter until just melted, but not sizzling hot.
  4. Using a stand mixture and paddle attachment, blend flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder. and salt on a low speed.
  5. Gradually add the melted butter to the mixture until it starts to come together and form a crumbs.Combine thoroughly until a dark rich crumb is formed.
  6. Spread the crumb on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 min. Periodically mix up the crumb.
  7. Remove from oven after 20 min. Crumb will become crunchy as it cools.
  8. For the Pie Filling
  9. In a blender blend the banana, mango, ⅓ cup of the cream ( I accidentally used more here), milk, sugar. cornstarch, and egg yolks until smooth.
  10. Transfer to a heavy bottomed pan .
  11. Bloom your gelatin with a bit of water in a separate small bowl.
  12. Clean blender.
  13. Gently heat the banana mango mixture on medium high heat, while constantly until it begins to thicken and deepen in color .
  14. Add the heated custard back into the blender along with the 3 tbsp of butter and gelatin. Puree.
  15. At this point add the food coloring if desired to crate a rich golden hue.
  16. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool down. Place in the refrigerator to chill for approx 60 min.
  17. In a clean bowl for the stand mixture. Whip up the remaining cream and confectioners sugar until it forms soft peaks.
  18. Add the chilled banana custard mixture to the shipped cream.
  19. Set aside and keep chilled.
  20. Assemble the pie crust.
  21. In a food processor pulse the chocolate crumbs.
  22. Add the remaining sugar and butter and salt.
  23. Press the crumb into your pie tin.
  24. Fill with the banana mango cream mixture.
  25. Place in freezer to firm up solid for several hours.
  26. Slice and let sit for a few moments at room temp before serving.


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5 thoughts on “Sparkling New Home and A Sunny Recipe for Spring…Banana Mango Cream Pie

  1. Louise

    Oh how exciting for both you and CS, Courtney! Moving can be a daunting experience but once that passes, it can also be quite exciting too!!! Just take one day at a time and not try to rush to put everything in its place. (I know its difficult but it may save you more work in the long run:) And a terrace garden! oooo la la:) That too can take some time.

    Congrats on the weight loss too. Indeed the stairs are going to help:)

    As for that Banana Mango Cream Pie, it looks amazing!!! Mangos don’t seem to like me much, nor I them but I’d be willing to give that pie of yours a try for sure!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Courtney…Happy Spring!

  2. Ben

    Congratulations on the new house! And girl, you’re killing me with this pie. Mangoes are abundant right now all over the markets in Mexico and I can’t wait to try this pie. I just love the color!

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