Cynthia Graubart’s Blueberry-Banana Cream Pie

Riffing on the blues

Photograph by Patrick Heagney

Cynthia Graubart studied journalism at UGA and earned her master’s degree in broadcast management at the University of Florida in Gainesville; one of her first gigs out of school was producing Nathalie Dupree’s PBS series New Southern Cooking in 1985. She and Dupree eventually became a writing team, collaborating on Southern Biscuits (2011) and last year’s chef-d’oeuvre, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. The latter includes a banana cream pie recipe like the one Graubart’s grandmother, Lorraine Braddock Cahill, made for her as a child. Looking for ways to take advantage of the seasonal bounty, Graubart devised a fresh twist on the formula just in time for the local berry season. “I’ve always liked blueberries and bananas on my cereal,” she says, “so I thought, why wouldn’t they be good in a pie?” She trusts her nana would approve.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Banana Cream Pie Filling :
2 medium bananas, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
8 tablespoons granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.To make the graham cracker crust, toss together the crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press into a 9 1/2 inch deep-dish pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool.

2. For the filling, arrange the banana slices in the cooled crust. Sprinkle with blueberries in a single layer. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a heavy saucepan. Stir together until there are no lumps. Mix together the milk and egg yolks and whisk them into the sugar-cornstarch mixture until smooth.

3. Over medium heat, stir the mixture constantly until the custard comes to a boil, taking care to scrape the bottom and sides. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, stirring, until thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter and vanilla. Pour the custard over the bananas and blueberries. Cool 20 minutes at room temperature, covered with wax paper or plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

4. Meanwhile, make the meringue by beating the egg whites and cream of tartar until the whites form firm peaks. Fold in the sugar and beat again, if necessary, to peaks. Spread the meringue over the custard, all the way to the crust. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown. Cool to room temperature before serving. (Refrigerate if you’re not eating it right away, but then allow the pie to come to room temperature again before serving.)

This article originally appeared in our May 2013 issue.