Banana Cream Pie
Dorrie Greenspan is true star of the blogosphere. I have read so much about her and her recipes, I had to get hold of some of her books. I simply cannot bear the thought that I'm missing out on something (my inner child and all that). I chose this one and Amazon duly delivered it to my doorstep.
So, with my heart racing with excitement, I pulled the book open and spotted...
Once had I my little paws on this precious treasure I decided to take a new tack. My usual approach with a new book is to read through it and bookmark all the things I would like to make. This time, as soon as it was unwrapped I would just close my eyes and open it up. The first thing I saw I would make. From all that I have heard, it was bound to be fantastic. A gazillion bloggers cannot be wrong.
Date and nut loaf............okaaaaaaay. I'm sure it's a terrific cake, but I hate dates and I hate walnuts. I shouldn't have to make something I don't like, right. So it doesn't count.
Round 2.........honey almond fig tart.......riiiiiight. Where am I going to get fresh figs at this time of year. If I can't do, I can't do it, right. Again, doesn't count.
Round 3.........marshmallows.......hmmm. I made some yummy marshmallows not long ago. The point here is to make somthing new and exciting, right. No counting.
Round 4 and becoming slightly worried.......banana cream pie.........now that's what I'm talkin' about!!!!!!!!!!! Perfect. So, so perfect. Luscious and decadent and something that I have never tried before.
A few days later I got stuck in. I was so excited to make this.
There was an immediate problem. Dorrie uses her good for almost anything pie dough recipe which includes vegetable shortening. What is this? We have nothing here called that or that even seems to approximate it. The only thing I could think of was copha. But I just can't imagine that it would be very nice in pastry. I thought of using extra butter, but then I worried that it would make the dough too greasy. There must be a reason why Dorrie didn't just use all butter.
My instinct was to use an alternative sweet shortcrust recipe. But I noticed that the Dorrie's good for anything dough has no sugar at all. So in the end, I used Stephanie Alexander's plain shortcrust recipe from Cook's Companion.
In the final wash up, I think that a sweet shortcrust would have been a better choice. The pie filling is not overly sweet. And Stephanie's recipe is not a good one I think. Or more likely I am a terrible pastry cook. The pastry was way to hard and bland I thought. I will know for next time.
Adding the sour cream to the cream for the topping was lovely, giving a slight tang. I did, however, add a bit more sugar. It was great in the way that the sweetness and flavour of the bananas was allowed to shine, but I thought that they needed a bit more support. I find this unusual for a North American recipe. I generally find myself cutting back on the sugar because they are so much sweeter than Australian or UK recipes.
Overall, the pie (minus the pastry) was delicious. Custard, bananas and cream . It doesn't get much better.
Banana Cream Pie
(adapted from Baking From My Home To Yours)
Bring 2 cups of milk to the boil.
Meanwhile, whisk together 6 large egg yolks, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup sifted cornflour, 1/2 tspn cinnamon, 1/8 tspn of nutmeg and a pinch of salt.
Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg milk and then, still whisking, add the rest. Return to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk continually until the mixture comes to the boil. Whisk for a further 1-2 minutes and remove from the heat. Whisk in 1 tspn vanilla extract. Leave for five minutes and then whisk in 3 tbspn of cold unsalted butter. Leave until cold.
Spread 1/4 of the cold custard across the bottom of a 9 inch pie crust. Top with 11/2 sliced bananas. Add another thin layer of pastry cream. Top with a further 11/2 sliced bananas. Add remainder of the pastry cream.
Beat 1 cup of thickened cream to soft peaks. Add 1 tspn vanilla extract an 2 tbspn icing sugar (or more to taste) and continuing beating to stiff peaks. Sir in 2 tbspn of sour cream.
Smooth cream over the top of the pie. Serve or refrigerate until needed.