Friday, October 7, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

There are few things more perfect than a banana cream pie, but though I love them so, I've never made one until now. However, seeing as I had all the ingredients I needed and a pie crust to use up, I finally decided to make one and this one turned out pretty perfect. It's beautifully creamy and decadent without being overly rich. It has great banana flavor and I love that it's firm enough for a slice to stand on its own, but not so firm that you lose the airy texture of a cream pie.

The recipe is basically the same as the original. I've just altered some of the directions because it seems to work out better this way. If you're looking for a great banana cream pie, look no further.

Banana Cream Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Pate Brisee - Makes one pie crust
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt(use half the amount of fine salt)
1/8 - 1/4 cup of ice water

* If you have the time, make this crust using the technique described here. It is seriously the flakiest pie crust I've ever had, there are clear visible layers within the crust. However, the crust is just as good and still beautifully flaky made the way below.

Blend the flour and salt in a food processor to remove any lumps, add the cold butter and pulse until it is the size of peas

Add the ice water slowly using only enough so that the crust holds together when you squeeze it in your hand, it should not be too crumbly, nor too wet. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gather it into a mound, then flatten into a thick disc. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

When ready to make the pie, take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it into a big enough round to fit a 9 inch pie dish.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Fit the dough into the pie dish, fold edges under, crimp, and prick all over with a fork. Brush the edges with egg wash and chill for 30 minutes until firm. Line with parchment, fill with pie weights or dried beans, then bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove pie weights and parchment, then bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool.

Vanilla Custard
3 cups whole milk
7 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt

Heat milk with sugar and salt in a saucepan until it reaches a simmer. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch and vanilla until there are no lumps. Add the heated milk into the yolks a little at a time whisking all the while. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Strain over a sieve into a bowl and let cool slightly. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and when it has cooled down some more, chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled.

Whipped Cream
1 cup of heavy cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Place ingredients into a chilled bowl and whisk with a mixer until it reaches soft peaks, do not overwhip.

To assemble:
3 or 4 bananas, cut into 1/4 inch slices

Arrange bananas in a spiral on the bottom of the pie crust, top with the custard, then finish with the whipped cream. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, you can cut some more bananas and arrange them on the top or serve as is. The pie is best served the day that it is made.

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