Friday, March 9, 2012

Cloud Nine Banana Cream Pie

Homeschooling traditionally is hands-on learning.  My experience was no different.  For everything we studied, there was an accompanying hands-on project that generally included food.   A study of Jewish holidays would not have been complete without latkes.  When we were studying the Dark Ages, we all tried some cow tongue.  And I was extremely jealous of my sister Rebekah the year she decided to do a science fair project on leavening agents in brownies. 

Some of these experiences were of epic proportion.  When we studied Queen Victoria, we made queen cakes.  Mom mixed up the batter and let us fill the cupcake tins.  After about ten minutes in the oven, the cupcake tins overflowed and the bottom of the oven caught on fire.  

Then there was that study of Lewis and Clarke that came with a recipe for cattail biscuits.  These explorers did not have access to flour on their expidition, so they made biscuits from catails.  We had countless cattails around the pond on our property (they were great for pretend corn dogs), and we gathered them up for my mom to bake into biscuits.  While most kids were sitting in a noisy cafeteria worried that their parent might not have made their sandwich with Wonderbread, we were sitting in the woods and pulling cattail pollen out of our teeth. 

But nothing is imprinted as indelibly on my mind as the time we studied weather with cookies.  To celebrate the conclusion of our weather study, Mom made us sugar cookies colored to look like rainbows.  She also made "cloud cookies" from meringue.  Sweets were uncommon in our house, and we had certainly never had anything like those meringue cookies.  They were so light, sweet and crunchy.  Unattended, Rebekah and I ate as many meringues as we liked.  And we liked a lot.

Less than an hour later, I was curled up on the couch and clutching my stomach.  I concluded that study of weather knowing the difference between cumulus and nimbus and knowing that I would never touch meringue again. 

Fast forward ten years and I was trying to impress the man I loved.  Imagine my dismay when I discovered that his favorite pie was lemon meringue.  I told him outright that I would not bake merinuge and tried to make up for it with peanut butter cookies and chocolate mink

Then our friend Dallas served us a lemon meringue pie.  I scraped off the meringue.  Matt scraped his plate and said, "This is the best meringue I've ever had!"

I'm nothing if not competative. 

Not long after that, South Carolina was hit with an unusal amount of imclement weather (precipitation usually comes from Nimbostratus and Cumulonimbus clouds) resulting in almost a week of snow days.  I decided to use this extra time to finish up some super ripe banans.  Remembering Matt's reaction to Dallas' pie, I adapted a couple recipes and made banana meringue pie.  As it turns out, I was able to choke some down (ok, two whole peices).  But even better, Matt took one bite and said "This is the best meringue I've ever had!

Maybe next I'll tackle cattail biscuits.

Banana Meringue Pie

3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 9 inch pie crust, baked
6 medium bananas, sliced

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, flour in a thick saucepan, stir in milk.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Cook uncovered, fifteen minutes more, stirring occasionally.  Beat egg yolks; gradually stir in about half the hot mixture. Slowly add the egg mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Return to stove, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; add vanilla.  Line the bottom of the pie crust with sliced bananas.  Pour custard over bananas.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup of sugr and beat until mixture forms stiff peaks.  Pile on top of custard.  Bake in preheated oven (425) for 5 minutes or until delicately browned.  Serve warm or chilled.


  1. Saw some beautiful cumulus clouds this afternoon and thought of you. =)

  2. I saw those too! I'm honored that you were thinking about me on such a beautiful day. :)


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