Saturday, August 11, 2007

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.

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.

So, with my heart racing with excitement, I pulled the book open and spotted...

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 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.

The rest of recipe, the actual Dorrie part, went very well. The pastry cream came together beautifully and was lovely and smooth.

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.

Having tried one Dorrie recipe, I am of course not going to stop there. I have employed the blind opening the book method again and come up with sour cream chocolate cake cookies. I can't wait.

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.


At 7:23 pm, Blogger Cottage Smallholder said...

Oh KJ that looks truly awsome. If only I could pick up that fork right now!

At 5:46 pm, Blogger Karen Baking Soda said...

Looks so luscious and yummy. I know what you mean by adjusting sugar in USA recipes as well as the shortening problem... haven't figured that one out yet. We have something here that's called "Wajang", it's a vegetable margarine.... maybe I should try that.

At 3:56 am, Blogger Elle said...

That looks truly sinful and yummy. Dorie's recipes seem to always work out so well that I doubt I would change anything when I make her recipes...and I usually change something in most recipes I make. Had to argue with perfection. Can't wait for the chocolate sour cream cookies.

At 2:48 am, Blogger Deborah said...

I can't mark the recipes I want to make from this book because there are too many of them!! I have to do what you did and just open the book and make what I open to!!

At 3:47 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gave up my Dorie book to my sister-in-law. Need to get another copy. This cream pie looks so delicious. Dorie really rocks the blogosphere.

At 5:04 am, Blogger Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm sorry about the pastry, KJ - the pie looks fantastic, though! I would never have guessed you had trouble.

At 3:59 am, Blogger Kelly-Jane said...

Your pie looks really fabulous! Hope you have lots of fun with Dorie :)

At 6:01 pm, Blogger Peabody said...

MMM, so creamy and good. I love banana cream pie. I have seen two of these this week and it is making be get the itch to make it.

At 8:17 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Fiona, I wish I could share it with you.

Hi Karen. A vegetable margarine might be the way to go. I would be interested in the results.

Hi Elle, me neither. Those cookies look so good.

Hi Deborah. It's a fun way to do things.

Hi Veron. You are very generous. My sister-in-law is not so lucky.

Hi Patricia, thanks. Appearances can be deceiving.

Hi Kelly-Jane, thanks. It's going to be great.

Hi Peabody. I'm a fan too now.

At 8:29 am, Blogger Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

Man, that looks lovely.

I think I'd have the nerve to try the "open the book to a random page" method of cookbook testing if I could have as many do-overs as you did :D

At 5:26 pm, Blogger Cottage Smallholder said...

Hi KJ,

I have tagged you for the Fantastic Four Meme, follow this link for the details

At 7:00 pm, Blogger Dharm said...

That looks really lovely... can you ship some over??

You've been tagged by me at my blog... pls visit to see the rules...!

At 5:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a DJ's Food Hall in Canberra? I found Crisco vegetable shortening (the most popular US brand) sold there. It is truly icky stuff, and about 4X the price in DJ's of what it should be, but a lot of American recipes use it, so I bought it. I ordered this book from Amazon, too, but had it sent ot my parents' in the US. I have to wait for my next visit to pick it up--torture! Your pie looks great, btw.

At 10:37 am, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Anita, yes I did cheat a bit. LOL.

Hi Dharm, thanks for the tag. I will have a look.

Hi Steph, thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, we don't have a DJs food hall. But there are a few other places I can try. Hopefully, it will turn up.

At 9:19 am, Blogger Nora B. said...

KJ, bananas and custard! Love it. This reminds me that I haven't made banofee pie for ages. I learnt to make it from my sis when she was studying in Manchester. Have fun baking more from Dorie's book!

At 10:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my. I've never made banana cream pie before -- always wanted to, but never have. This pushes me over the edge. :)

At 2:37 pm, Blogger Julius said...

Your banana cream pie looks very luscious!

You'll love Dorie's recipes. I have not been disappointed so far, having tried a few and blogged about them. I recently attempted the cake on the cover of the book (see

Take care! =)

At 3:58 pm, Blogger Helene said...

Looks absolutely sinfull! I know my Southern husband would love this one!


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