My dad is the best in the world. You only think yours is, because you didn’t have mine. I love him and he’s amazing. We had a special time together as a family tonight to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Instead of cake, I made him his favorite – Banana Cream Pie. I was going to name this pie “Doren” after my dad, but he doesn’t have much in common with a banana cream pie. Aside from it being his favorite – I can’t really come up with great comparisons or interesting observations about my dad and a cream pie. So, he’ll have to wait for his signature dish for the bakery. Maybe I’m just too exhausted right now to do justice for my dad’s pie — I mean, he’s kind of goofy like a monkey, and they like bananas too. Perhaps I shall revisit the possibility of this being the “Doren” tomorrow. For now, Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.
Banana Cream Pie – America’s Test Kitchen
1 recipe Pie Dough for Custard Pies (see bottom of recipe)
*The greatest tip I’ve ever seen for pies is to use graham cracker crumbs instead of flour on the counter when rolling out dough for a custard pie. Gives it a nice crunch. I actually used Nilla Wafer crumbs for this pie – cause what goes better with bananas and cream than Nilla Wafers?
1/2 C plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 C evaporated milk
5 large egg yolks
2 C whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds removed and reserved
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
2 teaspoons brandy
2 ripe bananas
1 C heavy cream, chilled
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Line the chilled pie crust with a double layer of aluminum foil, covering the edges to prevent burning.
3. Fill the crust with pie weights or beans, rice or pennies and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color. Remove the pie weights and foil and continue to bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 12 minutes longer. Cool the crust to room temperature.
For the Filling:
1. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the evaporated milk, followed by the egg yolks, and finally the milk, until smooth. Stir in the vanilla seeds and the bean. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and becomes smooth (about 1 minute after boiling). Off the heat, whisk in the butter and brandy. Let the mixture cool until just warm, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
2. Discard the vanilla bean and pour half the warm filling into the baked and cooled crust. Add a layer of 2 ripe bananas, sliced thin, then pour remaining filling over bananas. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate the pie until the filling is chilled and set, about 4 hours.
For the Topping:
Before serving pie, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to whip until the cream forms soft peaks, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread the whipped cream attractively over the top of the pie.
Single Crust Pie Dough (from America’s Test Kitchen, Family Baking Book)
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
4-6 Tablespoons ice water
1. Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter the shortening over the top and continue to process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Form the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it into a 12-inch circle on a floured work surface and fitting it into a pie plate. Trim, fold, and crimp the edges and freeze the unbaked pie crust until firm, about 30 minutes, before filling or baking. (The dough can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let the frozen dough thaw on the countertop until malleable before rolling.)