Friday, August 29, 2008

the birthday baking week: banana cream pie

It always seemed most birthdays occurred during June. That was until I met a plethora of people who happened to celebrate in August...3 of them in the same week that I decided to bake for.
And guess what? I succeeded!
First up: Todd, the turning-39 rockstar with the cutest little kid. Who was not picky about anything I made, but told me he loved pie. And bananas.
Banana cream pie, it was.
Honestly, my first attempt, but I do well with pairing flavors and winging it. So I did. And it was delicious and adored by all.

Banana Cream Pie
pie dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 t salt
½ cup butter, cold
2-3 T ice water

chocolate layer:
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 oz cream

pastry cream:
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 T flour
2 t vanilla
3 bananas, sliced

rum whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 T rum (or more if you prefer, and who doesn’t love more alcohol...?)

1. For the dough: Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Combine the dry ingredients together. Cut in the flour until thoroughly mixed and add in water a little at a time until a dough forms. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
2. Roll out and fit around a 9 inch pie pan. Dock and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool.
3. Meanwhile: heat up the cream and pour over the chocolate. Whisk to melt. This seems like a rather stupid-small amount. And it is. I usually make big batches and keep it in the refrigerator to melt and use whenever I need it. The usual ratio is 1 to 1.
4. For the pastry cream: heat up the milk. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until nice and combined. Slowly ladle in some of the hot milk and whisk quickly. No scrambled eggs, please. Ladle in about half of the milk then pour it all back into the pot and let it come to a slight boil. Once the cream has thickened, take it off the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Chill.
5. The whipped cream is simple: whisk the cream and slowly add in the sugar and rum. Whisk to medium-stiff peaks and you’re done.
6. In assembling, pour the chocolate ganache over the crust and make a thin layer. Add the sliced bananas. Pour in the pastry cream and top off with the whipped cream.

It’s gooey and a bit messy and super delicious.

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