Thursday, December 10, 2009
Dreamy Holiday Banana Cream Pie
Banana cream pie immediately conjures images of a creamy vanilla bean custard packed full of deep banana flavor, teeth sinking into slices of banana throughout. Nothing processed; all parts of the luscious pie made from scratch. Just how long does a perfect banana pie take? With any great project comes a need for patience but the patience is linked to the waiting period necessary for the custard to properly set up. I did not do this on the first slice because 2 hours was all we could hold out for. 4 hours refrigeration time is the recipe's request.
As you can see, the custard was not set up after 2 hours chilling.
Previously, banana cream pie recipes have been a complete let down. My mind must have a definite idea of what my taste buds should be looking for because I keep trying but now my search has almost been completed. The wonderful, creamy banana pie was close to perfection ~ ~ ! Maybe a thick custard is not the texture my mouth is used too but the flavor is here in every way. The graham cracker crust even has 1/2 cup of mashed bananas. NOTE: Do not press very hard when using a measuring cup to shape the crust into place in the pie dish. If you press to hard, the crust will come out of the oven hard and difficult to cut later. The recipe, with my altering for a thinner crust and less sweet filling, has been tried many times before and I made a few changes based on other baker's issues. Recipe is based off of a similar banana cream pie served at Emeril Lagasse's many restaurants.
The pie turned out absolutely delicious!
Dreamy Holiday Banana Cream Pie
(adapted from Emeril Lagasse with a few changes)
For custard filling:
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 to 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
For pie crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 pounds bananas, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
For drizzled toppings:
3/4 cup caramel sauce, recipe follows
1 cup chocolate sauce, recipe follows
For whipped cream topping:
2 cups heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prepare custard filling, in a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, and 1 cup of the heavy cream. Whisk to blend well. Set aside. Combine the remaining 2 cups cream, the sugar, and the vanilla bean in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and bring to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Be forewarned: this mixture must break and look curdled otherwise it will not set up properly and it will be runny. Pour it into a glass bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap down over the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool completely at room temperature. When cooled, remove the vanilla bean and pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whip. Beat at medium speed to combine the mixture. If it will not combine, warm another 1/2 cup heavy cream and slowly add it to the mixture. Whip until you have a thick and creamy custard.
To prepare pie crust, in a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and mashed banana. Mix thoroughly. Add the butter and mix well. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until browned, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool, for about 10 minutes. To assemble, spread about 1/2 cup of the custard on the bottom of the crust. Arrange about a third of the banana slices, crowding them close together, over the custard. Next, spread 1 cup of the custard over the bananas. Arrange another third of the banana slices close together over the custard. Top with 1 cup of the custard and the banana slices. Top with the remaining custard, covering the bananas completely to prevent them from turning brown. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours. Cut the pie into wedges and serve with a drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce. Top with the whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Caramel Drizzle Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is a deep caramel color and has the consistency of thin syrup, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cream, return the saucepan to high heat, and boil the sauce until it regains the consistency of a thick syrup, about 2 minutes. Cool.
The sauce can be refrigerated until ready to use. Allow it to reach room temperature before drizzling it over the pie.
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the half-and-half and butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until a thin paper like skin appears on the top. Do not boil. Add the chocolate and vanilla and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
The sauce can be kept refrigerated for several days, but must be returned to room temperature before serving.