For the inaugural post of Quinn Stitch, I’d like to keep it classy with a favorite recipe of mine, Banana Cream Pie.
Now hoooboy, this is no ordinary Banana Cream Pie. This is primo 1980’s-era Food & Wine Magazine big-hair shoulder-pads Banana Cream Pie. What do shoulder pads have to do with it? I don’t know, maybe I picture the 80’s mom-housewife Martha-Stewart type concocting this recipe back in the day. Just go with me here.
Now a little back story: As a child I was an insanely picky eater, and for some strange reason, I did not like cake. Yeah you heard right. Cake. In general. Young Laurie was not having any of it. Now, as an older, and wiser individual, I wish I could go back to the day when Young Laurie decided that of all the things not to like to eat, CAKE should be added to the list. And on that day, I would say to that little girl, “Hey, no worries, I’m just you from the future. And are you kidding? CAKE IS AWESOME! Get with the program, weirdo! Oh, and when you’re a teenager, don’t wear neon green men’s pajama tops to high school as a shirt.”
Nowadays there is literally no sweet delicacy that I don’t like. I’m not kidding either. Cake, cookies, ice cream, cannoli, tiramisu, candy, baklava, pie, fudge, shortbread, sweetbread, parfaits, cream-filled, not cream-filled, frosting, no frosting, etc. It LITERALLY does not matter, I have a gigantic sweet tooth and love all desserts. However, there is only one exception. Orange creamsicles. (Gross) … (Feel free to disagree)
ANYHOO, I’m off topic, where were we? Floral housedresses? Shoulders the size of skyscrapers? Ah yes, Banana Cream Pie. So, young Laurie in her infinite wisdom decided that instead of gross, disgusting cake for her birthday, she would like to have her favorite pie: BANANA CREAM. And lo, in the years hence, her most excellent mother baked her that delectable pie every year on her cold, cold January birthday and spared that girl the torment of ingesting that disgusting crumbly confection with colored sprinkles and hot pink frosting.
A couple years ago when I extricated myself from my homeland of lakes and nasally “O’s” and moved to this Midwestern metropolis, I took over the task of baking myself this pie. Firstly, out of tradition, second, because it’s flippin’ delicious, and third as an excuse to eat massive amounts of calories worth of butter, cream, and custard once a year. This pie is so good, I’ve even gotten requests from others to bake it for THEIR birthdays!
Fear not ye weak of stomach! This pie will change your life, if you’re brave enough for the challenge.
Best Banana Cream Pie
Before you start, set out three egg yolks and some butter to allow them to come to room temperature.
Begin by preparing and baking the pie crust ahead of time. By any means necessary, crumble and smoosh a bunch of Nilla Wafers. I usually pour a bunch in a plastic bag and then whack it a few times with a rolling pin, but go ahead and use any method that suits you. A food processor would work as well. When you have about 1 1/3 of the crushed cookie crumbs, combine with 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Melt 5 Tablespoons of butter and blend into the cookie crumbs.
After buttering a 9 in pie plate, push the crumb and butter mixture into the bottom and up the sides. This can be accomplished with a flat glass bottom and maybe some parchment paper. After pressing, bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Let the crust cool before adding any filling.
At this point, you're ready to make the filling! Now, this recipe calls for "scalded milk". You can really tell that this recipe is old as dirt right from that ingredient. From www.ochef.com:
"Many older recipes called for you to scald milk, that is, to bring it nearly to a boil (185°F, 85°C, or more), preferably in a thick-bottomed pan, and stirring actively, to keep a protein skin from forming on the surface and keep the proteins and sugar from sticking to the bottom. Scalding served two purposes, to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the milk, and to destroy enzymes that keep the milk from thickening in recipes. Pasteurization, however, accomplishes both of those goals, and since almost all store-bought milk in Western countries is pasteurized these days, scalding is essentially an unnecessary step."
Wow. Now that we've learned a useless piece of information, let's scald some milk! (It's pretty easy) Get out your thermometer, and heat the milk gradually to 185 degrees while stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the milk.
In a heavy saucepan, combine 6 Tablespoons flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually stir in the scalded milk until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring for 1 min and remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, beat the three room-temperature egg yolks well. Gradually add about 1/4 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to warm them, then stir the yolk mixture back into the pan. This is so the eggs don't scramble! Cook, stirring constantly, over moderate heat for about 3 min, or until the custard is very thick.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 4 Tablespoons of room temperature butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and allow the custard to cool at room temp for 15 min. (My picture, I totally did it wrong, make sure the plastic is TOUCHING the custard.
Cut the bananas into ¼ inch slices and arrange half of them overlapping slightly over the bottom of the pie shell.
At this point, pour your custard over the bananas and smooth. You can even two two layers each of bananas and custard! Cover the pie and custard with a round of waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
And now for the whipped cream!! Now, feel free to cheat and buy some readi-whip. However, there really is nothing more glorious than homemade whipped cream, trust me. This does take a little practice, but if you follow a couple tips, you'll do fine.
Tips for making Whipped Cream:
- Use a stainless steel bowl
- Put everything in the refrigerator to make it super COLD before you start.
- Use an electric mixer. Unless you have arms of steel, then good luck whipping it by hand!
Using a chilled bowl and beaters, beat 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add the confectioners sugar ¼ cup at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Beat on high speed until the cream is stiff.
Spoon the Whipped Cream on top of the pie!
Behold: BIRTHDAY BANANA CREAM PIE
Keep Refrigerated, and enjoy!
Best Banana Cream Pie1 Cookie Crumb Crust made with vanilla wafers…follows
6 T all purpose flour
1 c sugar
¼ t salt
2 c milk, scalded
3 egg yolks, well beaten and at room temp
4 T unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch slices and at room temp
1 t vanilla extract
4 small bananas
2 c heavy cream
¼ confectioners sugar
1. Prepare and bake the pie crust as directed in the recipe that follows
2. In a heavy sauce pan, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Gradually stir in the scalded milk until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring for 1 min and remove from the heat.
3. Gradually stir about ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to warm them, and then stir the yolk mixture back into the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, over moderate heat for about 3 min, or until the custard is very thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and allow the custard to cool at room temp for 15 min.
4. Cut the bananas into ¼ inch slices and arrange half of them overlapping slightly over the bottom of the pie shell. Cover evenly with half the custard. Arrange the remaining bananas over the custard layer and cover evenly with the remaining custard. Cover the custard with a round of waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Using a chilled bowl and beaters, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add the confectioners sugar ¼ cup at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Beat on high speed until the cream is stiff.
6. Spoon all of the whipped cream over the pie, or spread two-thirds of it over the surface, place the remainder in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe decorations over the top of the pie.
Cookie Crumb CrustUse whatever type of plain, dry cookie you choose - vanilla wafers, "Famous" wafers or gingersnaps.
1 1/3 c crushed cookie crumbs, or 1 c cookie crumbs plus 1/3 c finely chopped nuts
2 T sugar
5 T unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, or crumbs and chopped nuts, with the sugar. Pour the butter over and blend with a fork until the crumbs are moistened.
2. Butter the bottom of a 9 in pie plate ( but not the sides or the shell may fall during baking) and gently press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and then up the sides of the pan. ( I use a flat glass bottom to press the crumbs into place.) Bake in the center of the oven for 8 min. Let the pie crust cool to room temp before filling.