October 24, 2008

Banana Cream Pie


I don't care how fatty this banana cream pie is with the heavy cream and whole milk....it's so good.  Over a year ago I made a different banana cream pie with vanilla pudding and cream cheese and it wasn't very good.  But this recipe is from my Williams-Sonoma Pie & Tart recipe book!  Their recipe calls for a regular pie crust, but I used a graham cracker crust because they're my favorite.  I always end up eating a handful of the crust and I have to either spread it out really thin so I have enough, or make more!  

Graham Cracker-crusted Banana Cream Pie
Crust:
1  1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs  (about 12 rectangles)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375F.  Break graham crackers into pieces and grind into crumbs in a food processor.  (Eat any graham cracker chunks that refuse to grind!) Add sugar and butter, process until well blended.  Press firmly on bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.  Bake 8 minutes or until lightly browned; cool completely.

Filling:
1/4 cup cold water
2  1/4 teas. (1 package) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teas. salt
1 teas. vanilla extract
3 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tables. dark rum (optional, I didn't use)
1 teas. vanilla extract
1 tables. sugar

To make the filling: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until hot to the touch, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Pour the cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin.  Let sit until the gelatin softens and swells, 5-10 minutes.  (*Don't let it sit too long, it will get too firm to use.)  In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.  Add the cornstarch and salt, beating until smooth.  Add the hot milk to the yolk mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the softened gelatin and mix well.  Return to the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, 8-9 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla.  

Layer two-thirds of the banana slices in a single layer in the bottom of the baked graham cracker crust.  Stir the remaining slices into the custard and spoon it evenly over the bananas.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Prick a few holes in the plastic.  Refrigerate for about 4 hours.

To make the topping:  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream, rum (if using), vanilla, and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Spread the whipped cream on top of the cooled pie.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, then let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

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