Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Banana Cream Pie

I've been itching to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, just as soon as they both come into season at the local farmer's market, or at least a rhubarb tart and some strawberry-rhubarb jam too, using my canning supplies.  But neither is ready just yet (rhubarb will precede strawberries) so in the meantime, I made a non-seaosnal pie that works just as well any time of year, a banana cream pie.  This was really delicious, and light and fluffy.  I followed Martha Stewart's recipe from her pie book, and the result was quite enjoyable.

Crust (from Pies and Tarts by Martha Stewart)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 stick of butter, cold cut into pieces
1/8 plus 1 T ice cold water

Banana Cream Pie (from Pies and Tarts by Martha Stewart)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
2 T cold, unsalted butter
3 large bananas, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly crosswise
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
shaved chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder for topping

To make the crust, follow Martha's half recipe for pate brisee.  Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a stand mixer.  Add the chunks of butter and pulse until mixture resembles a course meal.  Drizzle 1/8 cup of water over the mixture and pulse until it just holds together.  If needed you can add another T or two of water - I added one more tablespoon myself.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for about 45 minutes.

Roll out the dough and line a circular 8 inch pie plate.  Trim the edges and crimp to form a nice pie shell.  Use pie weights on top of the crust to bake, since you are doing a "blind bake" without any fruit and don't want the shell to puff up.  Chill the pie for twenty minutes though before baking.  Preheat the oven to 425 and bake until the pie begins to turn gold, 15-18 minutes.  Then, reduce the heat to 350  and bake another twenty minutes.  Allow to cool completely, and remove the pie weights.

Make the filling.  Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk in the milk over medium high heat, stirring constantly until bubbling and thick, about seven minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, and add the milk mixture.  Whisk until combined.  return to saucepan and cook over medium heat for another two minutes until it returns to a boil, stirring constantly.  Pour through a sieve to strain.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Fold in bananas and pour into crust.  Then allow to chill for four hours.  In a chilled bowl, beat together the cream, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form, using the whisk attachment of your mixer.  Shape topping on top of pie using a spatula.  Top with chocolate shavings of powdered cocoa.


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