I can’t think of anything that makes me want to celebrate less than a dry boxed cake, laden with unpronounceable ingredients I’m sure are carcinogenic and smothered with eerily shiny- sticky icing that comes straight from Dow Chemical. And yet, such is the demise of the birthday cake. Why did birthday boys and girls stop asking for their annual favorite made from scratch? When did they become complacent with the generic cardboard they sell at the grocery store? Sometimes I even wonder if, horror of horrors, kids nowadays even know what a cake made from scratch tastes like. Yikes, scary stuff.
“Um, excuse me?!” you might ask, a little put out at my audacity, “Some of us work for a living and don’t have time to bake a three-tiered birthday bonanza extra-ordinaire!”
Touche. I’ll admit that with two young children at home I clearly have all the time in the world. But seriously, it is possible to celebrate birthdays with something tasty and really, it doesn’t have to take all day to make…
Today is my husband’s birthday- he’s 29…again. He loves creamy pies and so I’m actually off of the cake-baking hook, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to go hungry. Today I’m making a pumpkin pie and just because my last attempt was embarassingly dismal, a banana cream pie too (a scrumptious way to celebrate his long long stay in his twenties). With both kids a-napping I whip up the “perfect pie crust”. The pumpkin I baked and then blended and froze last year is thawed and ready to get to know a few eggs, some sour cream, molasses and spices. Then into the oven for some hot lovin’ for about an hour.
The banana cream filling is a bit of a stretch of patience as I later stand at the double boiler with a whisk in one hand and a baby in the other (nap time ended early) waiting for the filling to thicken. Yes, it is extra work- No, I don’t really have time for it BUT, and here I readily admit I’m old fashioned, by taking the time to prepare something he likes from scratch it shows I care. I care a little more than just ripping the top off of a red box with a spoon on it and dumping it’s contents into a baking dish.
Happy Birthday Trevor, may you enjoy many more happy 29th birthdays! From your hard-working wife.
Banana Cream Pie Filling
From The Joy of Cooking
In a double boiler combine 2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
2 c. milk
Stir until the liquid thickens (feels like forever but it’s actually only about 10-15 minutes)
In a separate bowl mix together three egg yolks (keep the whites to make a meringue for your pie).
Temper the egg yolks with the hot liquid, then return to the double boiler and cook until even thicker (about 5 min)
Remove from heat and add 2 Tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla
Let this mixture cool a bit before pouring it over sliced bananas in your cooked pie shell and topping with meringue
eat it just the way it is as a delicious vanilla pudding.