Monthly Feature
Carrie’s got you covered in the dessert department!

I recently had an amazing dinner at Mark’s. Even though I thought I might burst from stuffing myself with Mark’s goodness, I couldn’t pass up the dessert menu. My husband and I opted for a beautiful dessert made of layers of crispy coconut cookies, fresh bananas, custard, and whipped cream. It immediately reminded me of this recipe which my mom used to make for family gatherings. It was so delicious that my cousin and I would literally fight over the last piece. Hopefully you will enjoy this treat and no one will end up with puncture wounds!

1 3 ½ oz can flaked coconut (1 1/3 cups)
2/3 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
5 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 cups milk
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large bananas
½ cup heavy or whipping cream
Toasted sliced almonds for garnish (I use toasted coconut instead)

Preheat oven to 300˚. In a 9-inch pie plate, with hand, mix coconut, oats and 3 tablespoons softened margarine or butter. Pat coconut mixture onto bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake crust 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.

In 2-quart saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons of margarine or butter. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens; boil 1 minute. (It may seem like you’ve done something wrong during this step, as it seems to take a while for the mixture to thicken and when it does it looks like it is curdling. Just keep the temperature low, keep stirring, and have a little faith. It will come together!) Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla extract.

Cut 2 bananas into ¼ inch thick slices. Line cooled pie crust with sliced bananas; pour custard filling over bananas. Cover custard filling with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold.

In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy or whipping cream with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar until stiff peaks form. With metal spatula, spread whipped cream mixture over pie.

Cover and refrigerate pie until ready to serve. *The recipe recommends making this at least 4 hours before serving, but I find that it’s best when made a day ahead.

To serve, slice remaining banana. Garnish pie with banana slices and toasted almonds (or coconut).

The taste: The crispy, coconutty crust is the perfect vessel for the creamy filling. And, what’s not to love about coconut and banana? Nothing in my book. The pudding is a vanilla, but so much better than the boxed stuff. I think I’ll be making this by itself for a simple treat.

The ease: The recipe is simple! Making the pudding does require a little patience, but really is worth the effort. If you’re short on time (or patience) the boxed stuff could be substituted, but you’ll be missing out!

The fat-assness: As far as real desserts (i.e., no fake desserts, like a fruit cup) go, this one is really not too bad. You can totally justify eating it…you’re getting some grain with the oatmeal, dairy and even some fruit. And, with only 5 tablespoons of butter in the whole thing, it’s not an artery clogger. Practically sounds healthy, right?

The cleanup: If you make the crust in the pie plate, you really only have to clean the saucepan and the mixing bowl. Not bad at all!

The problem: The only problem with this recipe is that I cannot find canned coconut. As I result, I used the equivalent amount of flaked coconut. The crust was still delicious, but did not hold together well. Next time I make it I’ll try more butter and maybe a little light corn syrup to add some stickiness. Has anyone out there seen canned coconut? I checked at HEB, Kroger and Randall’s with no luck…

The verdict: Regardless of the state of your crust, this is a tasty treat. Although I’m bringing this recipe to you in the fall, this makes a great springtime treat. It’s light, flavorful, and sure to impress your guests at your next event!

The tip: Make sure you use bananas that are very ripe for maximum flavor. Under-ripe banana will leave you wishing for some more banana-y goodness.


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