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.

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