Sunday, April 10, 2011

Seasonal Sunday: Banana Cream Pie recipe.

Every year around this time I make a dear family member a Banana Cream Pie from scratch. None of this dump some instant pudding in a ready made crust. Not that I would judge you if that's your thang. :) I oddly enjoy rolling out pie crusts and recipes that require large quantities of real butter. What you may find tedious I find rewarding. I did go with a graham cracker crust this time. Sometimes I rock the pasty crust. It's yum-o either way. Oh and by the way, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. It is not healthy by any means except that it is homemade and free of any goofy store bought, premade pie ingredients. Not that I can think of any off hand, but I'm just sayin.'

Banana Cream Pie
Recipe from my beloved Cook's Illustrated and The Dessert Bible's Christopher Kimball.

Go Get it:

(First you need a crust unless you just want to eat the custard filling and sliced bananas with a spoon. Again, I won't judge!!)

11 graham crackers processed or smashed into fine crumbs (about 1 1/4 cups)
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter (or margarine if you must)

Go make it:

1. For the crust: Heat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust a rack to the center position. Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine crumbs, about one minute. Add the sugar and pulse to combine, about 10 seconds. Add the melted butter in a stream and pulse until evenly distributed and the mixture looks like wet sand, about 10 seconds longer. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and using a flat-bottomed drinking glass or measuring cup press into an even layer to form crust. Bake until golden brown and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack. I only baked mine for about 12 minutes so after the 10 minute mark I would check it constantly. If it smells done it might be too late. You could also go with a regular pie crust like the one here.

For the filling:

Go get it:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
8 large egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I subbed a can of evaporated milk)
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.
1-2 teaspoon dark rum

Go make it:
1. In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup of sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Add egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of vanilla, then slowly pour in the milk and 1 cup of heavy cream, whisking well. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with a straight edge wooden spoon or whisk. You really need to be able to get at the edges of the pan. And now you know what to do with that silly looking wooden spatula spoon thing you own. Once you see steam really make sure you cover every inch of the bottom and sides of the pan. When the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayo, remove from heat and whisk in rum and butter. Place custard in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure to press the plastic wrap onto the custard so it doesn't form a skin. Refrigerate until cold or if pressed for time until warm, almost cool. This will ensure your custard stands up nice and tall. This took roughly 2 hours in my fridge for barely warm custard. Also place your metal mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer or fridge at this time for making homemade whip cream. You've come this weren't planning on topping with something that came out of a can were you? ;)
2. Once custard is cold, combine remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in chilled bowl and beat on medium for one minute. After about a minute increase speed to extra high. What? Your hand mixer doesn't have an extra high setting?! Whisk until peaks are smooth and firm. If they are wimpy and fall right over so will you topping. If beating by hand whisk until your arm falls off.
3. Place 1/4 to 1/2 cooled custard into pie crust gently. Top with sliced bananas. Place remaining custard on top. If you just plop it in there and stir it all crazy into place it can destroy it's awesome thickness. We want major height here people. I don't know about you, but when selecting my slice of pie from the wondrous diner rotating pie distribution center I go large or go home. What, is that not what that thing is called? Now go top that bad boy with all your whipped cream goodness. I felt that my whipped cream could have used a little more sugar, but I like mine sweet. So taste it before you top.

I was on my way out the door and I realized I had yet to snap a pic of my final product so that's why there are toothpicks sticking out the top. That's not how I typically decorate my pies. :) Enjoy!

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