Banana Cream: American Pie…sans Jason Biggs

Okay, folks. I promise, after this, I’ll move on. Butttt… Happy Independence Day, again! Now, I know that this particular pie is nowhere to be found on my bucket list, but like I said in my last post, it was just too good not to share. It’s…wait for it… Banana Cream Pie! Wait, what?

Similar to the cookies I made for dessert that day, normally, cream pies are not my go to. Especially banana cream pies. I’d rather either eat something chocolatey, or when I’m making a pie, I stick to berries. But, this pie in particular is super customizable. It has a crust that you can use for any other pie, and a pastry cream that you can not only use in pie, but you can also use in cream puffs, eclairs, donuts, etc. Or, let’s be honest, you can do what I did with my leftovers, and eat the stuff by the spoon. It’s just that good. Lastly, you can decorate the pie any way you want. If you’re looking to be patriotic, you can throw that flag on there. If not, you can top the whole thing with whipped cream and then drizzle some chocolate ganache or caramel on there for some jazz! If you’re looking to try it out, my recipe is below.

This bad boy is a three stager: crust, cream, assemble. And, two of those three stages can be done in the days before you want to use the dessert, which makes it perfect for a party.

First up, crust! Now, lean in really close for this one. Come on, come closer. I’m going to tell you the (not-so-secretive) secret to the perfect flaky crust. Temperature. Or, rather, a cold as hell temperature. For this, you’re going to need chilly butter, chilly water, chilly everything. Except for a chilly oven that is… The coldness of the butter will allow it to hold it’s shape until it’s in the oven, at which point the heat will cause it to melt within the dough creating pockets of steam. (AKA, dem flakes!)

Start by putting all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and cutting in your cold butter. Mix it around to coat the butter. Now, this next step is going to seem a little odd, but you’re going to dump it all out on the counter and use a well-floured rolling pin to roll the butter into sheets within the flour mixture. My clean-kitchen-loving, type A soul dies a little every time I do this, but I have a key tool that stops the hyperventilating every time: a bench scraper. Yep, just one of those little flat pieces of plastic or metal. When the flour gets too far away from you, the bench scraper can help you bring it all back together. It can literally be found at the dollar store, so really, you should do yourself a favor and just pick one up. Anyway! Put the mixture back into the bowl (with the bench scraper!) and throw it in freezer for 10 minutes.

Now, take it out, and slowly add that water in, using your hands to bring the dough together into a ball. Once it’s just together, wrap it in cling wrap and let it chill in the fridge.

Once your dough has chilled, take it out and roll it into a circle on your well-floured counter. Go ahead and crimp it anyway you desire, or not at all if you’re going for rustic! Now, here is the part that I was a newbie at. Every time I had baked a pie before, the filling needed to be baked too, therefore cooking the crust in advance wasn’t necessary. This time however, that wasn’t the case. I needed to “blind bake” the dough, which is really just a fancy way of saying… cook it. Because I’m no expert (and a cheap-o at heart), I used dried beans to do it instead of using pie weights. You’ll need some sort of weight though so that the dough doesn’t shrink when it bakes. Basically, line your crust with parchment paper, put the beans in, and bake it until the edges are brown. Then, remove the beans and continue cooking until the dough is baked through.

Once finished, I found that mine sunk just a little. Maybe I took out beans too soon? But… THAT PUFF THOUGH (Thanks, cold butter.)

That was probably the most time consuming part of the recipe. From here, it’s all downhill (in a good way). Up next, phase two: pastry cream. Begin by heating your cream over medium heat until steam begins to rise off of it. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine your eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Make sure to combine it well. Eventually it’ll turn into a thick paste. Once your cream has steamed, pour a cup of it slowly over the egg mixture, stirring constantly. By doing this, you’re tempering your eggs, and making sure they don’t cook. Gosh, this is a lot like my creme anglaise from ice cream week! (…is it sounding natural yet?) You can now go ahead and pour the rest of the cream into the eggs, give it a stir, and then pour the whole mixture back into the pan over medium heat and add your vanilla.

You’re going to want to stir this until it thickens up into a pudding like consistency. Unlike the creme anglaise, this pastry cream has the flour added to it, so it’ll eventually become thicker. Once you see your whisk starting to leave trails, you’re almost there. Keep going until you see a bubble or two pop out of the mixture. That shows that the flour has cooked out. At this point, pour your cream over a strainer and push it through to a bowl underneath. This will ensure that something is there to catch any cooked eggs or pieces of flour. I thought about neglecting this step – saying to myself, “puh-lease I can temper eggs with the best of them!”- I’m glad I didn’t, there was some well hidden chunkage in there! Cover the cream with cling wrap so that the plastic directly touches the mixture and refrigerate until cool.

This is the exciting part, phase three: assembly! You’ve got your crust, cream, and toppings. You can choose to just dig in at this point, or you can actually make the pie. You might roll your eyes, but it’s tempting!

assembly ingredients (edited)

First, line your crust with the banana coins.

assembly bananas

Then, glob that pastry cream over them and smooth it out until it’s even.

assembly pastry cream (edited)

The next part is up to you. You can be patriotic and go for the flag or cover it with cream for any other day of the year!

Tada, I present to you, what I fondly call the “American Pie: Sans Jason Biggs”. Maybe I should just call it the “Jason Biggs” for short. (Can you tell I love me some Jason?) With the bananas and whip, it’s super refreshing and seemingly light! We just won’t talk about all that butter in the flaky crust.

finished overhead 2 (edited)

Next week, it’s back to non-patriotic treats, I promise! Until then, “yes we can”. Okay, okay, I’m done!

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