Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Banana Cream Pie - in Jars!


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I have been known to come up with some grandiose plans on occasion.  My mind can take flights of fancy and create possibilities that I do tend to believe will become my perfect reality.  Practicality and rationality are not typically my companions.  

Such was the case when I was going through my photos about Provence, France {see previous article}.  I refused to take photos of the  lavender fields, past their prime, barren and twiggy in the September climate.

Oh, I am entirely grateful to ever set eyes and feet on the beautiful landscape of Provence, but doesn't the world see the lavender fields?

Since moving to Texas, however, it has reached my fanciful ears that fields of lavender can be found within hours of where we live!  Indeed, I have seen proof of this supposed dreamy landscape.  The markets here have stands that sell lavender soap, lavender lotion, and lavender filled sachets.

After a few google searches, I declared to my husband that we could celebrate our anniversary by going on a romantic country drive to breathe in, photograph, and revel in our own Provence-like lavender bounty.  We set off...

This doesn't look like sensual tones of gentle violet hues. Does it?  

You are correct....This. is. cotton.

The journey into the countryside to engage in our own lavender experience was not to be had.  The fields were brown, small, and without a shade of purple even if you crawled along the ground and wore violet colored spectacles.  A thudding reality check registered the scene before us and we turned the car around for the long drive home.

While dejectedly driving back home, feeling pouty but also guilty for dragging Patrick out to the middle of nowhere, on another of my fanciful whims, he slides the car over to the side the hot dusty road.

"Look at this?" he sighs deeply, glancing at me with a whole-hearted enthusiasm for the scene before us.  "Cotton fields!  Isn't this a beautiful sight?  It's not lavender by any stretch but it sure is a sight!  We have never seen this before."

It's true.  It was a splendid sight.  A sea of snowy, pillowy cotton balls blanked the field as far as the eye could see.  Reluctant to see the beauty at first, but admiring his ability to see a glass half full, we walked among the rolls of puffy balls of cotton.

Cotton!  It really is a beautiful sight.  Each ball of fluff looked like a just popped kernel of fresh corn.  There wasn't a sound to be heard for miles around.  The tufts of cotton swayed in the hot Texas heat as the dusty winds gently rocked them back and forth.

Beauty can be seen in so many places when you least expect it.  We did enjoy a beautiful scene that day.  Look right under your feet and often that fanciful dreaminess will be waving its sights. 

The next day, I thought I would make Patrick a special anniversary dessert.  He loves banana cream pie.  

After looking at those fields of cotton, I mounded the filling for the pie into various sized jars with vanilla wafer cookies.  I whipped up the meringue light and fluffy and piled it on top - just like the cotton plants.

Banana Cream Pie in jars!  For my wonderful husband.  The person who knew how much I loved fanciful flights of adventure.  Here's a little something fluffy and pillowy... for my love.

Banana Cream Pie 

Ingredients: {filling}
1/3 cup flour or 1/4 cup corn starch (I used corn starch)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, scalded
3 slightly beaten egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 bananas, depending on taste

3 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together.  Scald the milk.  Pour milk into the dry ingredients.  Place the mixture onto the stove on medium heat. Stir constantly (don't take your eyes off of it) until it thickens and boils.  Cook 2 minutes longer and then remove from heat.  Add a little bit of the mixture into the eggs. (Snippet's notes:  this is so the eggs don't cook) Add the egg mixture to the big mixture and cook for another minute or two.  Remove filling from the stove and add the butter and vanilla.  Mash 1-2 bananas and fold them into the filling mixture. Cool slightly before spooning into jars.

For the meringue topping, beat the egg whites in a mixer on high until light and fluffy.  Add a pinch of cream of tartar and the sugar.

Heat the oven to 250˚.  Spoon the meringue topping onto the jars as the topping.  Place the jars on a cookie sheet and slide into oven on the middle rack.  Cook for 5 - 10 minutes or until meringue looks toasted.


  1. Lovely post. Cotton fields are beautiful. I'm really into your banana cream pies! Nice.

  2. Wow the cotton fileds look amazing:))
    And it seem to be trend now to make cakes in jars,pots and there are ven push up cakes;)

  3. omg those look INSANELY good

    I could just dive in and never dive out :)

    and in jars...omg, too cute!!!

    beautiful photography, as per usual.

  4. They are so gorgeous - what a great idea in the jars!
    T x

  5. What a beautiful post (again!), i love the cotton field, you captured it so perfectly.

  6. The jars with the meringue on top are gorgeous!
    I've never seen a cotton field before, it looks pretty :)

  7. These pictures are beautiful and the little banana cream pies look like they have been made with love.

  8. The cotton fields look so pretty... as do those jar-pies!

  9. Great narrative and photos. Your cotton photos are excellent. When I was a young boy in Carencro, my father wanted me to experience picking cotton in my grandmother's field. My point: if you notice how cotton is arranged in the bole, by hand you can grasp the cotton using four fingers and it releases all of the cotton from the bole. Beware if you jabbed at the cotton bole, because between each fluff of cotton was a pointed tip and if you did not position your fingers correctly to extract the cotton, the pointed tip would pierce your finger tip. Like Pat, I like banana cream pie and your recipe sounds delicious. Keep up the good work. Love, Dad

  10. the banana cream pie photos are gorgeous...and so is that cotton field. so dreamlike.

  11. What a *sweet* post...Happy Anniversary to both of you!! I love the pies in a jar, fabulous concept...the images are so great. Mr. 24 is a banana desert guy too, I think he would love they're adorable!
    Who knew that cotton fields could be so romantic...and beautiful! I've wanted to visit our lavendar fields & festivals here for years but I'm always working during that time. They have them in day, one day.
    Here's to flights of fancy...and sweet hubby's!
    xo J~

  12. I love your cotton pictures and your story! My husband loves banana cream too, so I'll be making these soon.

  13. I loved this post. There is so much beauty in the world if we just open our eyes to it. I've been collecting little jars, so I'm excited to try this dessert, but I'm allergic to bananas, so...maybe chocolate? Can't wait to try.

  14. WOW! Thank you for sharing photos of the cotton field. I've never seen how cotton grows, and this is just amazing! I love how you connected the banana cream pie with the cotton :) Beautiful presentation :)

  15. Lavender fields sure are beautiful but those cotton fields are so, well, American. They are beautiful in their own way and they reminded me of snow. I guess all I can think about right now is rain and cooler weather.

  16. What a beautiful post! Happy Anniversary to you the presentation for your banana cream pie, gorgeous :)

  17. A Very Happy Anniversary! Your take on banana cream pie is gorgeous and so wonderfully creative!

  18. i love this post :) so sweet - you can def find beauty when you least expect it! love the field of 'popcorns'...something ive never seen before! def as awe inspiring as a field of lavender for me :)
    banana cream pie in be still my heart!!!

  19. Happy anniversary! I've never seen lavender fields or cotton fields, but the descriptions and pictures were incredible! And the recipe to top it off, can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing :)

  20. I've never seen cotton fields before...and they are as beautiful - if not more so - than any lavender. And - that banana cream pie looks scrumptious!!!

  21. I love this post for so many reasons:

    (1) I've never seen a cotton field before, all exploded with puffs of white. What a gorgeous site -- it must have been breathtaking, and what I imagine coffee farms to look like when all the leaves are covered in blossoms. Like snow!

    (2) Your tribute to your husband is beautiful and full of grace. Your affection for each other is palpable and inspiring.

    (3) Banana cream pie! In jars! And so funny -- this after I just posted on my own blog about banana cakes in jars, a couple of which I ordered to have baked and shipped to a blue friend.

    If I could bake, I'd have to try your recipe. Heaven knows I'm bananas about bananas!

  22. These are absolutely adorable, and the photos are divine. And oh how I agree that Beauty is all around us -- when we slow down, take a breath, and actually look around, we will notice that the good stuff of life right under our nose. Lovely post.

  23. I am so happy I stumbled on your blog...from Tastespotting...because I adore your pictures! They are so beautiful...especially the cotton fields. I've actually never seen a cotton field before and you definitely captured something beautiful. The pies are lovely too :)

  24. Oh my gosh...where do I begin with this post?

    Your photography is stunning! Are you loving your new lenses? Have you gotten any more? Absolutely beautiful work!

    I have never seen cotton before! How wonderful. I was told that it's quite a nasty job to pick cotton because of all the thorns (what thorns? I don't see thorns in your pictures?) but it sure looks soft and pillowy from your perspective.

    Those little banana cream pie jars? I think they are the most adorable food item I have ever laid eyes on. :)

  25. Oh my I am loving ur pictures a lot lot.. just browsed thru few post and everything is so adorable...lovely shots:)



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