As you might have guessed, I didn’t make it again for a long long time. In fact, I shied away from pastry cream in general. But slowly, over the years I got brave, and decided to have another go.
We’re all glad I did. This Banana Cream Pie is incredible. Light and creamy, with lots of fresh chunks of banana. Vanilla beans stud the crust, the pastry cream and the whipped cream. It is sweet but not overly so, and has so much banana flavor. And, there’s a some insurance with that pastry cream – a little bit of gelatin and whipped cream folded in makes it a guaranteed success. We’ve added one to the birthday dessert list.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.
Banana Cream Pie
This pie takes some work, but it’s worth it. My only, only complaint is that the vanilla beans in the cream filling make it taste a little gritty – I think I will use extract next time I make it. SarahBeth suggests using plumped vanilla beans, which would solve the gritty problem.
I also did not have a coffee grinder to grind the almonds for the crust, so I used a food processor. This gives it a different texture, but it still tasted great.
almond pastry dough
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons [1 stick] unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon ice water
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Grind the almonds in a coffee grinder [or food processor] with 1 tablespoon of the flour until powdery. Combine the remaining 1 cup flour, ground almond mixture, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter cubes and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces of butter, about 2 minutes. Using a fork, mix the egg yolk, 1 tablespoon ice water, vanilla seeds, and almond extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle the yolk mixture all over the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, combine just until the dough clumps together. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water, a little at a time.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape into a 1 inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled but not hard, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375, position oven rack at lower middle. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the dough. Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Line the dough with a round of parchment paper and fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Bake on a sheet pan for 15 minutes, until the pastry is set. Remove the parchment paper and weights and continue baking until the pastry is golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Cool completely.
2 tablespoons cold water
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
3 ripe bananas, cut lengthwise in half, then into 1/3 inch slices
1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl. Set aside until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a heatproof medium bowl until combined; set aside.
Heat the milk over medium heat until very hot. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the filing thickens and comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and whisk for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the gelatin mixture, and whisk until the gelatin is completely melted [the pastry cream will thin slightly]. Strain through a mesh wire sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and pierce a few holes in the wrap [this will prevent a skin from forming]. Let stand on a wire rack until completely cooled and thickened but not set. Remove the plastic wrap and fold in the bananas.
Beat the heavy cream just until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the banana mixture. Fill the cooled pastry shell and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let the filling set in the refrigerator, about 1 hour.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or seeds form 1/2 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted [optional, for garnish]
Beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla just until it forms stiff peaks. Top pie with whipped cream. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Just before serving, top with almonds if using. Serve chilled.