Pie with a side of strength…

(My mother and me as Moon Jellyfish at the Seattle Aqauarium)

I was in the car and the phone rang. My mother asked me where I was and I told her I was driving to my friend L’s house. She said “oh good, call me when you get there…I don’t want to distract you from driving.”

I arrived at L’s house and called my mom back like she asked. She got really quiet and said, “I have cancer”. Amazingly enough I did not cry at that moment (I am such a crier). I just sat there not knowing what to say, with an overwhelming sense of numbness that I had never felt before. She calmly explained to me that she had stage 2 breast cancer. I know she told me all the details that day but of course none of it sunk in. She assured me that all would be alright and sounded astonishingly chipper for someone telling their daughter they had cancer. My mom asked me to hand the phone over to L. She told all the details to L so that when I got over the shock, L could tell me everything when I would be more coherent to understand it.

When L hung up the phone I just started to cry. Not just crying, but sobbing crying…with streaming tears, puffy eyes, snot running down my face…uncontrollably crying. That was the first and last day I cried for her. I knew she would not want me to dwell on it and so I did not. She did not want me to come out and help her, for she lives in a small town and plenty of people were willing to help out…and of course she had my dad. Though I am sure she had her bad days, you would never know it. Throwing dinner parties and volunteering at the community center while undergoing chemo and radiation.

My mother, a now 5 (going on 6) year cancer survivor, will tell you that her cancer was a blessing. She now counsels others who have cancer(mostly breast, sometimes other forms). She feels that is why God gave her cancer in the first place, so she could survive it and help others see that it is not a death sentence. A truly remarkable woman.

This recipe reminds me of a banana split in a pie shell. It is not made with ice cream(but pastry cream) but has many similar ingredients. I love that the pie crust in lined in chocolate…a great touch I must say. But when I bit into it, the thing I loved the most was the peanut butter on the bottom, it really gave it that something extra.

Fanny’s Fave Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie with Hot Fudge Sauce

2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
2/3 cup(11 TBSP) chilled unsalted butter
4 to 5 TBSP ice water


¼ cup banana liqueur
1 envelope plus 1.2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 vanilla bean
2 ¾ cups milk
4 large egg yolks
¾ cups sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
3 to 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ripe bananas
lemon-lime soda
¼ cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature

Hot Fudge Sauce:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
¼ cup butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp salt
3 to 4 TBSP Jack Daniel’s Whiskey(I left out because I didn’t have it)

To make the crust:
Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the flour, salt, and sugar on low speed for about 30 seconds. Cut the chilled butter into ½-inch cubes. Add the butter to the flour mixture and combine on slow speed for 1 to 1 ½ minutes, until the mixture looks crumbly. Add 4 TBSP ice water, 1 TBSP at a time, mixing on low speed for 10 seconds after each addition. After the last addition, the dough should begin to clump together in a ball. If not, continue mixing about 10 more seconds. If it looks too try add another TBSP of ice water. Gently mold the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 425F. Unwrap the dough and transfer to a lightly flour flat surface. Roll it into a 1/8-inch thick circle large enough to over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep dish pie. Wrap the dough lightly over the rolling pin and st it in the ungreased pie pan. Press it into place. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the unbaked crust. Cover the bottom and sides of the crust with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights. If the crust is not golden brown, return to the oven for 1-3 minutes. Cool on a rack until the custard filling is ready.
 To make the filling:
Pour the banana liqueur into a small metal bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on top, and let it soften for 5 minutes. Set the bowl over a small saucepan with 2 inches of simmering water and warm the gelatin until it has completely dissolved and looks clear. Cut the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise. Combine the milk and vanilla bean pod in a medium saucepan and brig to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let the vanilla steep in the mile while preparing  the yolk mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add the sugar gradually, whisking constantly until the mixture lightens in color to a lemony hue, about 15 minutes total. Whisk in the cornstarch. Pour the milk through a strainer into a glass measuring cup or pitcher with a spout. Gradually pour the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan set over medium heat ans whisk constantly until it begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat and whisk for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture, being sure to incorporate it throughly. Let the filling cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the chocolate in a small bowl in a microwave on medium high. Check every 30 seconds to ensure the chocolate does not burn. Using a pastry brush, evenly coat the bottom and sides of the crust with bittersweet chocolate. Refrigerate the pie crust while the chocolate hardens and sets, 10-15 minutes.

Slice the bananas diagonally and brush them with lemon lime soda(helps prevent browning). Spread peanut butter evenly over the bottom of the baked crust. Layer on half of the banana slices, add all of the filling, and then the remaining bananas.

Cover the pie with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic comes in direct contact with any custard not covered by bananas to totally seal it and prevent a skin from developing on the surface. Refrigerate the pie overnight before serving.

To make the fudge sauce:
Heat the cream and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter, chocolate chips, and bittersweet chocolate and stir over medium low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the salt. Remove the fudge from the heat and stir in the Jack Daniel’s. Keep warm until ready to slice and serve the pie, or cover and store in fridge for up  to 1 month. The sauce can be reheated in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove top over low heat.

To serve the pie, cut it in wedges, add a dollop of whipped cream and top with a generous pour of hot fudge sauce.

Source: Adapted from the Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather with Alison Oresman, 2004



  1. VallartaTiffany says:

    Peabody, you have an amazing mom! Thank you for sharing this touching story with us (great pic of you two!) :) AND your pie looks beyond perfect, I may even get brave enough to make it myself?! Best of luck my friend! VT

  2. hi ms Peabody,
    love ur site…. just wondering, if banana liqueur is not available, can i just omit it or any other suggestions?? and oso what is the weight of a pack of gelatin??

    thank u very much…


  3. I am glad to hear your mom is allright. Thanks for sharing the story with us. I lost my brother to cancer a few years ago. I reacted the same way you did. I could not go back home when he was at his sickest but got the chance to visit and introduce him to my husband and that was priceless.
    I know B. is going to ask me for this recipe. Looks marvelous.

  4. adamswife says:

    That story was amazing!!! And the food looks great. Thank you for sharing both!

  5. Wow! That is one seriously good looking pie for an excellent cause!

  6. Oh goodness…I thought you were relating something that happened TODAY! How blessed your mom is to be able to help others…God gives us trials sometimes for reasons we don’t know. Anyway, I love banana flavored desserts and putting peanut butter with it makes it even better! YUM!

  7. Tiffany – you could totally make this…it just has a lot of steps
    Angel- just use 1/4 cup water. I can’t find anywhere where it says how much. The box says it’s total weight is 1 ounce and it contains 4 envelopes. So each packet is .25 ounces is my guess. Sorry I can’t be more help.
    Helen- sorry about your loss
    Claire- if that happened today…I so would not be in a place to be blogging!

  8. Peabody, what a beautiful post!! Thank you for sharing such an initially sad, but ultimately inspiring story.

    My grandmother died 2 weeks ago after a long battle with leukemia, and I find myself even more sensitive to the struggle and strength shown in facing cancer now as we deal with her being gone from our lives.

    Your mom is amazing! As is this delicious pie. :)

    Thank you, as always, for such a delicious and wonderful blog!

  9. Yay for your mom, Gracie! =)))

    Incredible pie – I think my favorite part would be the peanut butter too.

    I’ll so be participating in this.. I dealt with cancer 2 years ago (successfully kicking it’s ass!) so something like this really hits home, as I’m sure it does for millions of people.

  10. Your mom sounds like a great leady :) The photo is so cool! And that pie…oh boy…chocolate, banana, and peanut butter! Sounds terrific!!! :)

    Thanks for the heads up on the event…will be heading over to Barbara’s now…

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story about your mom with us. What an amazing and inspiring woman.

    I recently lost a co-worker at the age of 34 to cancer and have another employee here battling breast cancer. One of my close friends and I are participating in the Mother’s Day walk for cancer in honor of them both.

    What a great blogging event and what a gorgeous piece of pie. Definitely looks like a banana split. Yum.

  12. Congratulations to your mom for her 6 year survive!! That’s a wonderful number to reach! And a very fun picture of you two!
    And well, the pie, yeah when you have chocolate, bananas and peanut butter – that’s just got to be totally WOW!

  13. What a wonderful story Peabody – thank you for sharing it. My heros are always what Anthony calls Everyday Saints, people who, like your mom, find their way through whatever life throws at them to cheerfulness. People who smile in the face of adversity and go on to help others. Blow her a kiss and tell her “Thank You” for me.

    Oh, and thank you for that recipe – I love bananas and peanut butter and chocolate, so it’s on the list!

  14. Hi Pea…thank you for sharing your story. Your mom is a inspirational woman who has used her situation to enrich both her own life, and those around her in need. Truly commendable – give her an extra hug when you see her.

    Gorgeous pie – I absolutely love that PB is thrown into the mix!

    Thanks for the information – I will definitely take part in this event.

  15. Love this post Peabody! Your Mom is wonderful to share her strength with the people she councels. I will be taking part in this for sure.

  16. Peabody I’m so pleased for your Mum. I’m sure she finds it so comforting to be past the 5 year survivial level. Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for participating In a Taste of Yellow.

  17. can tell you and your mom are gorgeous, even behind that jelly-fish hat (?)
    I feel we all, with or without disease, inspired by the spirit and strength of your mom!
    Whiskey in that hot fudge sauce, I will start boggie!

  18. I have only recently discovered your blog, but it is one of my favourites. Your recipes and photo’s are amazing. I was touched to read your story and am so glad your mum is in remission!! Your pie looks sensational and delicious and has definitely inspired me to make something for Taste of Yellow…although you are a hard act to follow :)

  19. What a cheerful picture, both of you look like sisers and I mean that as a total compliment! Your mother sounds like a truly remarkable woman and its so nice to know that she is once again healthy and happy.
    I’ll definitely take part in the event, in fact your post has inspired me to perhaps turn it into a mother-daughter baking session with mum.

  20. This is a beautiful story Peabody. I was freaking out at first when I thought you had just found out your mom had breast cancer, but then I saw that she has since survived it and felt better. Whew. Don’t scare me like that! She sounds like a brave and inspiring woman!

    Beautiful dessert too, damn you, tempting me like this at 9pm. ;P

  21. Peabody, so wonderful that your mom is doing well – she sounds like an amazing person! And thanks for making us all aware of the Taste of Yellow event – your dessert looks fabulous!

  22. I’m glad that your mom pulled through and looks back on her illness with such a positive outlook that colours the way she lives today – if only we could all have that kind of strength and reflection.

  23. Peabody, Thanks for sharing your story and that your mom has reached past 5 years and found the meaning for her in the experience. My mom is 5 1/2 years post lung cancer, so I know how it feels. We are lucky. I’ll surely participate and probably dedicate the recipe to Grandma L’s sister who has just be diagnosed with cancer. It is a disease that touches so many lives.
    Your pie sounds outrageously good. Love the peanut butter…but then I eat peanut butter and bannana sandwiches, too. :)

  24. Peabody,

    Your mom sounds like a true hero. Someone that we should all look up to!

    That is one powerful pie!!!

  25. Thank God for your mom and her strength and for being cancer free.
    Thank you for pointing us all in the direction of this food event. I have it on my calendar and will remember to do it!

  26. Hooray for your mom, and for you — what a strong team! This is a great blogging event, too.

  27. Peabody,
    I’m sorry for not commenting before. I’m such a crier when it comes to cancer, either – my mom died of cancer 21 years ago (last Saturday, Apr.21, exactly).

    I’m so glad to hear your mom is safe! Please, send all my best to her.

  28. You have an amazing mom. Thanks for sharing this touching story. BTW, the cream pie with all that fudge sauce looks so delectable!

  29. Peabody, this is a lovely, lovely post. I don’t know how I missed this scrumptious pie! My eyes got really, really big upon first sight of this picture.

  30. Wow, that pie looks marvelous and scrummy!!! A beautiful post…

    I’m glad to hear that your mom suvived cancer!

  31. I posted a link in my own little yellow roundup~ not anything like the great job Barbara did!
    As usual you take the cake…or the pie!


  1. […] When I found out about Barbara over at Winoandfoodies was asking for food bloggers around the world to post about a yellow food in an event called “A Taste of Yellow” in support of Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG Day, like so many of my fellow food blogging friends, I knew I had to participate. […]

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