Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Banana Cream Pie

I am so bummed that I did not take a picture of the inside of this pie and I am sorry for that. Trust me, it is very pretty inside. And delicious. I was so happy with the way this pie turned out. I have come to realize that pie crust is actually very easy if you have access to a food processor. I have used two different crust recipes now that use the food processor and they both turned out beautifully. I know that this pie has a lot of directions, but don't let that deter you! Many people think that lots of directions means that it is complicated, but really all that it means is that it is possible that it will take up a lot of time. I wasn't particularly overwhelmed with the amount of time that this pie took to make and a lot of it can be made ahead. If you're willing to take the time to cook, it can happen. I find that it is actually rather uncommon that a recipe is very technically complicated. Give it a try! Enjoy! And I promise that the next post will be a savory recipe!

Banana Cream Pie
from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

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 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

3 ripe but firm bananas

1 9-inch single crust made with Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough, fully baked and cooled

For the topping
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sour cream

To make the custard
Bring the milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well blended and thick. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk - this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle - then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), 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 they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. You can either press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard until cold or, if you want to cool the custard quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir occasionally until the custard is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes. (If it's more convenient, you can refrigerate the custard, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.)
When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about 1/4 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 pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry cream over the last layer of bananas.

To make the topping
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the sour cream.

To finish
Spoon the whipped cream over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard. Serve, or refrigerate until needed.

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing - what you're aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water - add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.
Have a buttered 9-inch pie plate at hand. You can roll the dough out on a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a rolling slipcover. If you're working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, plastic, or in a slipcover, make sure to turn the dough over often and to lift the paper, plastic or cover frequently do that it doesn't roll into the dough and form creases. if you've got time, slide the rolled-out dough into the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest and firm up.
Fit the dough into the pie plate and, using a pair of scissors, cut the excess dough to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge. Alternatively, you can finish the crust by pressing it with the tines of a fork.
Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 400. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Transfer the pie plate to a rack to cool to room temperature before filling.

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