Recipes inspired by Musicals: Singin' in the Rain

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I think everyone would agree that Singin’ in the Rain is Gene Kelly’s movie. There isn’t a song and dance routine more iconic than “Singin’ in the Rain”.  I could watch it every day and still be charmed.  Gene Kelly was a notorious perfectionist who pushed himself and his fellow actors to give the best performance possible.  According to, Kelly had a temperature of 101 degrees while this number was being filmed, but kept going until it was perfect.

However, there are four minutes in the middle of the movie that belong to costar Donald O’Connor.  In the amazingly energetic “Make ‘Em Laugh”, he does just that as he pays homage to comedy in the movies:

“Now you could study Shakespeare and be quite elite,
And you can charm the critics and have nothin' to eat,
Just slip on a banana peel, the world's at your feet,
Make 'em laugh,
Make 'em laugh,
Make 'em laugh.”

“You start off by pretending you're a dancer with grace,
You wiggle 'till they're giggling all over the place,
And then you get a great big custard pie in the face,
Make 'em laugh,
Make 'em laugh,
Make 'em laugh.”

These lyrics could only have inspired a banana cream pie.  Which is why it's fortunate that my mom was here recently, and brought with her a determination to turn me into a pie crust expert.  Although I make the occasional pie crust, I do so seldom and reluctantly, and it's her fond wish that I live up to a long-standing family tradition of excellent pie-making.  Four pie crusts later, some small progress may have been detected.  In the meantime, with my mother's able assistance, I was able to bake this pie. 

I’m delighted to say that I neither slipped on a banana peel nor got the pie in my face at any time in its making.  And my family was far too busy enjoying the pie to laugh at anything I may have been doing.

Banana Cream Pie
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)

For the custard:
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
3 ripe but firm bananas
one 9" pie crust, fully baked and cooled

For the topping:
1 cup cold whipping cream
2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp sour cream

To make the custard:

Bring the milk to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt until well-blended and thick.  Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk (this will warm the yolks so they won't curdle).  Then, still whisking, add the rest of the milk in a steady stream.  Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes before removing from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until the custard is smooth.  Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate until cold.  

When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4" thick slices.

Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about one quarter of it over the bottom of the pie crust (it will be a thin layer).  Top with half of the banana slices.  Repeat, adding a thin layer of custard and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the custard on top.

To make the topping:

Beat the cream until it just starts to thicken.  Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream holds firm peaks.  Gently fold in the sour cream.

Spoon the topping over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard.


Anonymous said...

You know I have never seen Singing in the rain all the way through! Perhaps I should invest in a copy of the DVD. Even if you have never seen the film you automatically know the words to the song though. Its like you were born with the lyrics in your brain. Great post. Enjoy the rest of Sunday.

Carol said...

One of my all-time favorites. I loved the whole thing, what a fantastic cast! And the pie fits in perfectly with Make em Laugh :) Looks delicious!

Ruth said...

Wonderful! I wondered if you would include Make 'em Laugh, and you did! And I will definitely try this recipe. My sister is the pie crust queen, but every once in a while I get it "just right". :)

Belinda said...

Funny - me too, never saw the whole thing! But I will with a pie in front of me.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I loved the poem! The pie looks and sounds Delicious .

Have a wonderful week!

Valerie Gamine said...

If Gene Kelly can dance the way he did with a high temperature, the "I burned my tongue on hot cocoa so I can't exercise today" excuse sounds really, really sad. :D

Congratulations of facing pie crusts head-on! (They can be sly little things.)

This is one of many recipes that I've had my eye on for a looong time. And for the life of me, I don't know why I keep putting it off. Yours looks those banana chunks!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, I love Gene Kelly AND Singing in the Rain! I never even knew a custard pie was mentioned in that song...but I'm glad it inspired you to make this fabulous pie!!! Hope you've had a lovely weekend, Beth~

Daanish said...

i enjoyed reading :)

Anonymous said...

I only tried Banana Cream Pie for the first time this summer and it was absolutely lovely. I had no idea that such a confection could exist.

As a new pie crust-maker myself, I'm so glad that I am not alone in my pursuit of excellence.

Lorraine said...

Definitely one of my favorite movies. I also love when they sing "Good Morning" with Debbie Reynolds. This pie sounds really yummy. It is one of my husband's favorites. Thank you for sharing it:)

MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

My Mom loves this movie and my Dad LOVES banana cream pie. I believe I will make this and tell them how it came about :-)

Thanks for the recipe!

Elaine said...

Singin' in the Rain is such a wonderful movie. Your pie looks so delicious!

shaz said...

I've never tried a banana cream pie before! What have I been missing out on? Must try to mae up for lost time innediately :)

grace said...

i could browse imdb all day long! i never knew that little tidbit about gene kelly, but i love that movie. i also love nanner cream pie, and this one looks amazing!

Barbara said...

That was such a fabulous scene with Donald O'Connor. I smile just thinking about it. What athletes!

Anonymous said...

What a delicious movie-inspired dessert! Such a great alternative to all the heavier cakes and candies of the current season.

Rita said...

Loved Gene Kelly's moves! This is surely a fantastic banana cream pie; haven't made this in a long time.

Claudia said...

Of course, I have Singing in the Rain memorized. How perfect to have a banana cream pie inspired by Make 'em Laugh! You just made me laugh. That and your pie made my day!

Neesie said...

I'm really enjoying your Musical inspired posts Beth.
You are bringing such wonderful memories back that have been tucked away for quite a while.

I've never had banana cream pie before, but I think that'll be remedied soon ;D

Miriam said...

I absolutely love the movie "Singing in the Rain," and the "Make 'em laugh," song and dance is my favorite. :), the pie sounds divine!
Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

laurie said...

Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

That looks delicious. I've never had banana cream pie. Also, I haven't seen Singin' in the Rain.

nancy at good food matters said...

Banana Cream Pie is my husband's most favorite! What a rich beauty you've made---and I'll be smiling all morning about your inspiration!

MTeacress said...

The next time I watch Singin' in the Rain (which I love), I will surely eat banana cream pie. Mmm. Mm.

Jeanne said...

You're right - this pie is just perfect for those lyrics! I love visiting your "musical recipe" posts, I always leave with a smile on my face and a musical playing in my head!

Kitchen Riffs said...

What a fun post! Now whenever I see this movie I'm going to think of Banana Cream Pie! Speaking of which - nice recipe! I've never made one. What have I been thinking? Anyway, thanks for a truly entertaining piece of writing.

Katerina said...

Even I who live thousands of kilometers away from US I know the movie. I've seen it and I loved the songs and actors. The pie looks very refreshing Beth!

Angie's Recipes said...

Love Singing in the Rain! The banana cream pie looks picture-perfect!

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

Hy Beth,
just found your space..amazing space you have..
lovely recipe collection with inviting cliks..
pie sounds scrumptiously tasty..
Am your happy follower now..;)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

Caryn Caldwell said...

This looks delicious! I haven't had banana cream pie in years, but now that I looked at the picture I remember how much I loved it. I might have to make this one for Christmas!

Julie said...

Love, singing in the rain! One of my favorite all time musicals.

Joanne said...

Pie crusts can be rough, but once you conquer them, the world is your oyster! This banana cream pie sounds delicious!

lisa is cooking said...

What a great selection for your inspired by musicals series! I love cream pies, and this looks like a great one. Really like the sour cream in the topping!

Anonymous said...

Mmm I recently made a banana cream pie, and there's just nothing better!
Make em laugh make em laugh make em laugh!

Jessica | Cajunlicious said...

Great post! So glad I found your blog through a fellow foodie, you've got yourself a new follower! XO Jessica @ Cajunlicious

France Morissette said...

I can't remember the last time I had such fabulous banana cream pie. It looks like a great recipe and a good reminder to get cooking with bananas!

Anonymous said...

Singing in the Rain is by far my favorite musical. I was *obsessed* with Gene Kelly trivia at one point, so I'd heard about him being sick during that scene. Rumor has it, he contracted pneumonia after filming that scene, but never missed a day of production. Banana cream pie is also a favorite, and one that I've never made.

Elisabeth said...

Beth, your post is delightful and entertaining, just as Singin' in the Rain is!
Love your Banana Cream is to "die for" droolworthy goodness!
Thanks for sharing:DDD

Becki's Whole Life said...

I made this pie a few years ago and it was the best Banana Cream Pie I have ever had. The pastry cream was to die for. It was probably a little bit more labor intensive than most recipes, but well worth it!

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