Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

If you're looking for a tasty and simple dessert to serve, especially with the summer months now upon us, may I suggest this yummy banana cream pie?

(crust and pastry cream recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, with some of my own alterations):

For the crust:

* Preheat oven to 350 degees.

- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the pastry cream:

- 6 egg yolks at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
(optional: 1 teaspoon Cognac or brandy)

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until mixture is light yellow and falls back into bow in a ribbon. On low speed, beat in cornstarch. Bring the milk to a boil in large saucepan and with the mixer on low, slowly pour into egg mixture. Then pour mixture back into saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with whisk or wooden spoon, until mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat 2 to 3 more minutes. Taste to be sure cornstarch is cooked. Remove from heat, mix in butter, vanilla, cream and Cognac and strain into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold.

Slice a banana cross-wise and line the bottom of the graham cracker crust with one layer of sliced bananas. Then slice up 2 more bananas and mix it into the pastry cream. Pour pastry cream into crust and even out top. 

For the whipped topping:

- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/8 cup of powdered sugar

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, then add powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Make sure to not overwhip the cream, you want it to look fluffy, moist, and full, not dry and overly firm.

Top pie with whipped cream, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!

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