Banana Pie

Banana cream pie
Pie is ancient. Cream, custard and pudding pies are Medieval. Bananas took the American market by storm in the 1880s, due to impoved transpotration and savvy, aggresive marketers. Late 19th/early 20th century cookbooks are full of banana recipes. Bananas adapted well to most traditional fruit recipes. Hence: banana cream pie, banana pudding, banana nut bread, banana ice cream, banana compote, banana fruit salads, banana splits, etc. About pie, custards & creams & bananas. The oldest recipes we find for banana pie in an American cookbook were published in the late 19th century. They employ sliced bananas, not banana cream/custard.

[1880]
“Banana Pie

“Slice raw bananas, add butter, sugar, allspice and vinegar, or boiled cider, or diluted jelly; bake with two crusts. Cold boiled sweet potatoes may be used instead of bananas, and are very nice.”
Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, revised and enlarged [Buckeye Publishing Company:Minneapolis MN] 1880 (p. 215)[1901]
“Banana Pie.

Fill a pie shell, already baked, with sliced bananas and powdered sugar. Put in the oven a few minutes until the fruit softens. Very nice so, but far better to cover the top with whipped cream and serve at once. Flavor with lemon juice.”
Woman’s Exchange Cook Book, Mrs. Minnie Palmer [W.B. Conkey Company:Chicago] 1901 (p. 252)

[1906]
Banana Cream Pie.

Line a pie pan with a crust and bake in a hot oven. When done, cover the bottom with slices of banana cut lengthwise, very thin, (Two small bananas are enough for one pie). The fill the pan with a custard made in the following manner: Two glasses of milk, two tablespoonfuls of corn-starch dissolved in a little milk, yolks of two eggs and one teaspoonful of vanilla extract. Boil in a double boiler until it thickens; then pour it into the pie crust. Cover the top with the whites of the eggs beaten stiff and slightly sweetened. Place in the oven just long enough to give it a rich brown color.—Ella N. Mitchell”
The Blue Ribbon Cook Book, Annie R. Gregory [Monarch Book Company:Chicago] 1906 (p. 206)

[1908]
“Banana Cream.

Whip half a pint of double cream until stiff and stir into it half an ounce of gelatine dissoved in half a gill of warm water, a little lemon juice and one pound of peeled bananas rubbed through a hair sieve with two ounces sugar. Put the mixture into a mould and leave it in a cool place to set.”
New York Evening Telegram Cook Book, Emma Paddock [Cupples & Leon:New York] 1908 (p. 112)
[NOTE: This recipes is found in the pastry chapter.]

[1950]
“Banana Whipped Cream Pie.

Dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Few drops vanilla or almond flavoring
4 to 5 ripe bananas*
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
Toasted coconut.
*Use full ripe bananas…yellow peel flecked with brown
Add salt to cream and beat with rotary egg beater or electric mixer until stiff enough to hold its shape. Fold in sugar and vanilla or almond flavoring. Cover bottom of pie shell with small amount of whipped cream. Peel bananas and slice into pie shell. Cover immediately with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with toasted coconut. Makes one pie.”
Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book [United Fruit Company:1950] (p. 18)
[NOTE: This booklet also contains a recipe for Banana Chocolate Cream Pie.]

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