March 24, 2014

banana pudding pie with white chocolate macadamia topping

Happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend! We sent all three of our kiddos off in different directions for Spring Break mission trips. One went to Mexico, one to Guatemala, and another to inner-city Memphis - which is likely the most dangerous place of all of them. Y'all be praying for my babies and all of the others who are serving somewhere this Spring Break, will ya?!

So between washing and packing kids and working on the Euna Mae's store, I hardly cooked a single bite last week. But boy, did all of that change this weekend. Kids were gone. Sam and I are here a-l-o-n-e. The weather has taken a beautiful turn. And I got the itch. I cooked all weekend; and it was therapeutic. Now I will say that we were busy as bees running errands and working through lists for the Euna Mae's store. So I didn't labor all day on any of my cooking. It wasn't that kind of weekend where I stand leisurely in the kitchen cooking a little all day long. Nope, we were on the move. Marking off tasks. And we were beat. So everything I fixed was easy but with BIG flavor. Starting with this banana pudding pie with white chocolate macadamia topping that I made for my painters who have worked sun-up to sun-down for days in our building. And it came in especially handy when I had to tell them that someone had swiped a finger on the checkout counter to "see if it was still wet" and left a big, long finger-swipey mark on their perfectly smooth surface that was, in fact, still wet. (eh-hem, Sam.) So being able to hand over a banana pudding pie while asking them to repair the finger-swipey made it a little less humiliating. 

This banana pudding pie is simple, rich, creamy, and not-too-banana-y.  This pie is an easy combination of store-bought fixins and a pre-made shortbread crust. So when I say it's simple, I mean it. I made homemade whipped cream for the top which I absolutely urge you to do rather than whipped topping. That little touch of homemade takes this virtually-pre-packaged pie over the moon. And you'll be so proud of having made homemade sweetened whipped cream. Another plus to this recipe is that it makes two pies! One to keep and one for a sharing batch! Or you can keep both pies if you're hosting a dinner or Easter...because your company will eat every bite of both pies. I just know it. 
{makes two 8" pies}

Two 8" pre-packaged shortbread pie crusts
1 3.5oz package vanilla instant pudding, not sugar free
1 1/2 cup half and half
1 8oz  package of cream cheese, room temperature
 1 small can sweetened condensed milk like Eagle Brand
1 8oz carton whipped topping like Cool Whip, thawed
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
6 bananas, thinly sliced
3-4 white chocolate macadamia nut cookies like Pepperidge Farm

one Euna Mae's recipe for homemade sweetened whipped cream

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pudding mix with the half and half; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Whisk together until smooth. It's imperative that the cream cheese be room temperature so it doesn't clump. Whisk til your arm hurts so it's as smooth as possible (or use a hand-held mixer.) Whisk in the pudding mixture and the vanilla until combined and smooth. Gently fold in the thawed whipped topping and sliced bananas.  Divide the pudding pie filling between the two shortbread pie crusts; set aside.
Prepare the recipe for homemade sweetened whipped cream; and carefully spread the centers of each pie with whipped cream. In a zip-top bag, crush the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with a heavy spoon or roll over them with a rolling pin; and sprinkle them across the tops of the pies.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.