This is a belated pi day post because it seems to have snuck up on me this year. I ended up spending most of yesterday morning scrounging aground for a relatively easy recipe using ingredients I already had in the house. I briefly entertained doing chicken pot pie, completely bypassing my sweet tooth, but decided against it since I posted about it only a few weeks ago.
And then it dawned on me: I have everything I need to make a banana cream pie – except bananas. Oh well. Those are easy! I had a rather unsatisfying experience with banana cream pie last week. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t quite satisfying in the banana department, and that’s an issue I have found in most store-bought banana cream pies. For a while a year or so ago, I was on the hunt for a “real” banana cream pie recipe, one that didn’t use banana flavored pudding and a pie crust. I couldn’t find one for beans! And I was researching this on the internet for daaaaays. No, I didn’t go down to the library, though I have occasionally flipped through cookbooks I come across in book stores or elsewhere, and I still had no luck.
Luckily, the handy-dandy Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America helped me out. Not only do they have a recipe for banana cream pie, it uses ACTUAL BANANAS. And not pudding. Well, it could be pudding, if you wanted to completely overload on creamy goodness. It smells a lot like tapioca pudding when it starts cooling. And I loves me some tapioca pudding.
Banana Cream Pie
1 recipe for single-crust Pie Dough
2 medium-ripe bananas
1/2 cup heavy cream
chocolate shavings for garnish
2 cups Pastry Cream
Banana Cream Pie
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the pie dough use it to line a 9-inch pie pan. Fully blind bake the crust. (Blind baking entails lining the crust in the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and weighing it down with pie weights or dried beans, and baking for 10-12 minutes, then removing the weights and foil/paper and baking for a further 6-8 minutes until it is golden brown and purty.)
Let cool to room temperature in the pan on a rack.
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar (divided)
2 cups whole milk (divided)
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Combine the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the sugar in a mixing bow, then stir in 1/2 cup of the milk. Blend the yolks into the cornstarch mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth.
Prepare an ice bath. Combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk with the remaining 1/2 cup sugars and the salt in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
Temper the egg mixture by gradually adding about one-third of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly. Add the remaining milk mixture to the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, vigorously stirring with a whisk, until the mixture comes to a boil and the whisk leaves a trail in the pastry cream, 5-7 minutes. As soon as the pastry cream reaches this stage, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and the butter. Transfer the pan to the ice bath. Stir occasionally until the pastry cream is cool, about 30 minutes.
The cream started to thicken rather suddenly while heating. I had to keep a very close eye on it. Also, it likes to start developing a skin, so you do need to stir it more than occasionally.
Banana Cream Pie
Stir the pastry cream until it is light and smooth. Thinly slice the bananas into the pastry cream. Fold the bananas and pastry cream together and spread in an even layer in the cooled pie shell. (I was fine with a banana and a half, though I could have probably exponentially increased the awesomeness if I had added that last bit of banana.)
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it holds a medium peak when the whisk is turned upright. Spread or pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie and garnish with chocolate shavings. Chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.
You don’t have any idea how hard it was to get the whipped cream to not look super un-detailed.
While I was waiting for the pie to fridgidate, I made an awesome dinner. Will try to get this couple of recipes posted when I can, because they were awesome!
Thai noodle salad with fried chicken cubes with sweet chili sauce. So good.