Recipe: Chai-Spiced Banana Cream Pie
I haven’t made a pie in awhile and I was thinking at this point that I’d hold out until early spring berries made their way into the markets. But recently, I overheard talk of a pie that caught me off guard: Chai-Spiced Banana Cream Pie. I didn’t have a recipe, but I could only imagine how amazing the spice-flecked vanilla custard, soft bananas and pillowy whipped cream would taste, so I set to work.
I’d originally heard of this pie from a baking company in Oakland, CA called Pietisserie. Because I used to live in their neck of the woods, I still subscribe to their Facebook feeds and I’ve noticed they’re offering the pie as a special lately. I’ve never tried it, I’ve never known anyone who has tried it, but I knew I’d like it. I pined after it; and since I now live a few states to the north, I knew I would have to recreate it at home if I was to try a slice on my own.
If you’ve made a cream pie at home before, this recipe will look familiar to you. It’s pretty standard in method as far as cream pies go, except you add a blend of warm spices to the milk while it cooks. Allow time for them to infuse into the custard, and they’ll impart the subtle flavor of chai tea into each slice of pie. The spice profile isn’t overpowering at all — it’s more of a whisper or a kiss.
I’ve written this recipe here using our Butter Pie Crust from the Kitchn. It’s a wonderful all-purpose pie dough (although do note that it makes three 9-inch rounds, so you’ll have a few extra; freeze them for future pies!). For the pie you see pictured, though, I used a rye dough that I’ve come to know and love and use for most of my pies. I’ll include the link to that recipe below if you’re interested. I’ve made the pie with both crusts and happen to just gravitate towards the whole-grain iteration, but certainly use whichever you prefer.
A few small notes: I use kosher salt in my baking recipes. If you’re using a finer table salt, you’ll want to decrease it by about 50% (so I’d just use 1/8 teaspoon in this case). Also, you can certainly use powdered cardamom if you’d prefer here, but the flavor that the cardamom pods give the custard is so much more fragrant than the powdered spice. If you can get your hands on the pods, it’s worth the extra bit of effort.
So as we all sit and patiently wait for spring berries, I wish you the happiest of pie baking with a new pie that could run up against strawberry rhubarb any day.
Chai-Spiced Banana Cream Pie
9-inch Butter Pie Crust (1/3 of this recipe)
large egg yolks, divided
- 2 1/2 cups
- 3/4 cup
- 4 tablespoons
- 1/4 teaspoon
cardamom pods, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon
Few grinds black pepper, optional
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon
medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled and cut on the bias into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 3/4 cup
heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons
Pinch ground cinnamon, to top
Pinch nutmeg, to top
Related: Banana Pudding Ice Cream Pie
(Images: Megan Gordon)