Sunday, January 17, 2010

Banana Cream Pie

Everyone has their favorite pie. My dad's is cherry. My husband's is pumpkin. My pie is banana cream pie. But in my almost 30 years of life, I have never made one.

I have a strange love affair with the Williams' Sonoma "Baking" cookbook. I've had it for maybe eight years or so, and it has the best challah recipe EVER. It has lots of other tasty recipes too, and I've often desired to make each and every one a la "Julie and Julia", but I fear I'd gain 100 pounds. There is a recipe for Banana Cream Pie in the cookbook, and this weekend, while doing some major weekly meal planning, I decided to take the plunge and make the pie. I even got a half-dozen perfectly ripe bananas at the store for only $0.75!

This pie uses pastry cream, which I've never made, and any time you're cooking milk, and adding eggs to that hot milk, there's always a chance of disaster. But I make lots of things that use that technique, so I figured I could do it.

The recipe starts with the pastry cream...whole milk and the insides of a vanilla bean. The Monkey was my sous chef and told me the vanilla bean smelled like a raisin (it did kind of).

After the milk had heated, we added egg yolks, cornstarch and some salt, cooked it until it thickened (this was amazing, I was afraid it would never thicken and then, voila! All of the sudden it was like custard!).

The cream was pressed through a fine mesh sieve, covered with plastic wrap and cooled.

I layered the pastry cream on to the baked pie crust, then bananas that were tossed with orange juice, then more pastry cream. I covered that and let it chill all afternoon.

Then it was time to make the whipped cream. My boys have seen this lots, I never buy pre-made whipped cream because it's just SO much better made fresh.

I covered the pie with the whipped cream, and neither of the kids could WAIT for dessert.

We finished our homemade pizza (so tasty), and the kids couldn't stop asking for pie. Clearly Small Fry and the Monkey LOVED it. And as for me and hubby....we've each had two pieces. I'm sure the pie won't last through tomorrow!

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