I’ve never had an actual, homemade banana cream pie (I’m sorry, “creme” pie). If I was ever anywhere there were pies, it would always be the usual suspects: apple, or pumpkin, or even rhubarb. I have had a couple from Amish bakeries, but outside of such places, they just don’t seem to be in wide circulation. Which is a shame, because they are definitely better than your typical pies, which I despise thanks to the overabundance of crust. Whose idea was it to make modern pie crust sooooo boring? I just don’t get the thought process of that. “Let’s make something with irresistible filling, and then surround it with the most tasteless, crunchy thing we can find.”
Needless to say, I’m not a fan of pies. But I do enjoy a good cream pie every now and again, simply because it’s mostly all filling. There’s generally a thin-ish crust on the bottom, loads of creamy goodness inside, and it’s topped off with whipped cream instead of more crust. It’s almost like a cake mixed with a pie, and cake is definitely more my jam. So when I saw a banana cream pie at Aldi, for $5 no less, there was no question that was going in my cart.
Instructions are very simple: Put in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before enjoying. We actually had it in for 4 and the middle was still pretty frozen, but that might be because of our old refrigerator, so I’ll forgive that. Nevertheless, I waited until the following day to taste it the way it was meant to be tasted: Fully thawed.
My second first impression: Wait…where are the bananas? Every previous banana cream pie I’ve had has had slices of banana mixed in with the filling. Hell, every non-cream pie always has visible fruit in it…I thought that was the very definition of a “pie”. Belmont’s version, however, basically consists of banana-flavored “paste” with a nice whipped topping. I think I’m starting to understand why it was only $5.
I suppose a lack of visible banana is forgivable, assuming it tastes good. But this can’t even muster up the courage to do that. The flavor is very weak, never hitting the strong banana notes of a good cream pie, and instead leaving one wanting more. A lot more. No matter what I thought of it, I expected to at least be able to give it high marks for value. But I don’t think this even has $5 worth of taste in there.
As if one hasn’t suffered enough, we get to the crust. It’s my biggest nightmare: There’s way too much of it. It’s thick, crunchy, dry, and mostly tasteless, the way many standard pie crusts are. It’s actually a perfect example of what I hate about pies encapsulated in one product. I would suggest they should have cut back on the crust and added more filling, but that wouldn’t even help this one any. It’s a misfire in almost every way imaginable.
While it’s technically edible – I wouldn’t call it “gross” or “offensive” – I still threw half of it away. And I rarely waste sweets that I buy for myself.
If that doesn’t tell you all that you need to know, I don’t know what will.
Overall: 3/10. I wanted to like this, but I just can’t. The middle filling is almost like a “paste”: It’s a thick glob of yellow that is meant to represent banana, but without a visible banana slice anywhere to be found. Meanwhile, the crust is too thick and – as typical of pies – nearly tasteless. While it looks good from the outside, the flavor is more akin to something you’d find at the dollar store: Bland and a little too straightforward. I’d say that’s a shame, because the $5 price tag is more than reasonable, but it certainly seems like many corners have been cut to get there.