Monday, April 25, 2016

The Best Banana Cream Pie

Oh. My. Goodness.  Y'all, I have one question.  Where has this pie been all my life?

I've long been a fan of banana cream pie.  Honestly, I've never met one I don't like, but there are some I'm partial to more than others.  Like those with custard.  There's just something so magical and mouthwateringly delicious about a custard pie.

Yes, those are a little more work.  But, if we're being honest here, that work is soooo worth it in the end.

I've had several types of cream pies.  I mean, growing up in a Baptist church I attended my share of potlucks with the most amazing food ever.  Among that food was a plethora of desserts, and some of those desserts just happened to be banana cream pie.  Man, oh man, did all those ladies in my church know how to bake!  They set the bar oh, so very high.

I honestly don't know if I've ever had desserts better than those home cooked goodies from some of my favorite, most influential ladies ever.  But, I'd have to say that this banana cream pie seems to be high in the ranks of one of the best desserts I've had.  I'm not saying it's better than those desserts, but I do believe it ranks right up there with them.
Flaky pie crust filled with cool, thick custard loaded with tons of sweet, ripe bananas.  Fresh whipped creams adorns this delicious pie.  With each bite I'm transported back to the days of my childhood.  During the summer there truly was nothing better than a cool piece of banana cream pie.  As an adult, I can't help but experience a little nostalgia when I enjoy a slice of banana cream pie.  Not only do I reminisce about the carefree days of my childhood, I'm also taken back to those numerous potlucks I attended.

Whether you're looking for a little nostalgia, the perfect dessert for warmer weather or the most amazing banana pie EVER this is it.  Take the time to make the custard, it is so worth it and then indulge in the goodness that is this pie.

The Best Banana Cream Pie
Ingredients:

For the crust-
1 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 Tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
3 Tbsp ice cold water, plus more if needed

For the filling-
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 Cup + 1 Rounded Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 Tsp salt
2 Cups 2% milk
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
5 Large egg yolks
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut in half
2 Tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Ripe, but firm bananas

For the Topping-
1 Cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 Tsp vanilla

Directions:

For the crust-
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined, about 5 times.  Add the cold butter and pulse 10 times, until mixture resembles course crumbs*.  Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of ice water, and stir until the dough just comes together.  Add more water, if needed.  Do not over work too much, you want to pats of butter to still be seen.  Once the dough comes together, form a ball and place on plastic wrap.  Form into a 4 inch disk and wrap tightly.  Place in the refrigerator and chill for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 375.  Place rack in the center of the oven.

Remove the dough and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle.  Gently roll the the dough around the rolling pin, hold over a 9-inch pie plate and gently unroll the dough, allowing the excess dough to drape over the sides.  Gently press the dough in the pie plate.  If there is quite a bit of excess, trim the dough, then fold the edges over and crimp.  Place the pie plate in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.

Line the inside of the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Cover the edges of the chilled crust with foil, this will prevent burning.  Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove weights and foil, continue baking until golden brown, about 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For the filling-
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.  While whisking the mixture, add the milk and egg yolks to the sugar mixture and continue whisking until smooth.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking continuously, until the mixture has thickened and is smooth.  This will take several minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly, stirring often with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.

Pour half of the warm filling into the cooled pie crust.  Slice the bananas and lay over the filling, spread the remaining filling over the bananas.  Cover with plastic wrap, allowing the wrap to touch the filling, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the topping-
Pour the cream in a medium bowl and beat on high until peaks begin to form.  When the peaks form, add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until the cream is fluffy and peaks are stiff.  Spread or pipe over the pie, top with additional banana slices and grated chocolate, if desired.

Serve.

Store remaining pie in the refrigerator.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Chew Out Loud

Notes:

Chill the blade of the food processor for at least 30 minutes before making the crust.  This will allow the butter to mix in while keeping it cold.

*Mix the butter until just combined, but you still want to see semi-big pieces of butter marbled throughout the mixture.  This allows for maximum flakiness.

When adding the water, gently work with the dough, trying not to handle too much so you don't melt the butter.

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