Banana Cream Pie

Vietnamese food

  The banana flavor is boosted by steeping extremely ripen bananas in milk and cream mixture ( or just whole milk, or half & half) for two hours like in Dana Cree’s banana pudding.

Ingredients for one 9-inch pie:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5  large  bananas:  3 ripe, got some brown spots, and 2 extremely ripe
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup  and 2 Tbs sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 prebaked pie shell completely cool, recipes ( Graham cracker crust or Almond crust) are followed
  • 1 cup cold heavy whip cream 
  • 2 Tbs granulate sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Peel 2 extremely ripen bananas and slice them into 1/2-inch pieces.  Place banana slices, milk and cream in a medium pot.  Split and scraps vanilla bean and add to the pot if using.  Bring it to  a boil over medium high heat.  When the mixture boils, remove from heat, cover and let it steep for 2 hours.  

After 2 hours, whisk sugar, egg yolks, salt and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Strain the banana  dairy mixture through a fine mesh sieve to the egg yolks.  Discard bananas or save for other uses like smoothie.  Whisk the egg mixture and dairy mixture until smooth.  Transfer to a clean pot.  Cook over medium heat, whisking gently and constantly.  Scraping the sided with a flexible silicon spatula until the mixture begins to bubble.  Turn the heat down to medium low, continue whisking and cook until thicken 4-6 minutes.  Then remove pastry cream from heat.  Whisk in butter and vanilla extract (if did not use vanilla bean) .  Let it cool down to luke warm (about 15 minutes)

Peel and slice 3 remaining bananas into 1/8 inch slices.  Spread 1/4 pastry cream  into a baked, cool pie shell.  Cover completely with 1/2 banana slices.  Repeat with 1/4 pastry cream and add a second layer of remaining banana slices.  Cover banana slices completely with remain pastry cream.  Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill in the fridge 3-4 hours up to 24 hours.

Before serve, whip cream, sugar and vanilla until silky and medium firm peaks.  Spread across and over the pie with a spoon/spatula or pipe with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. 

     1 sheet of gelatin (or 1/2 tsp of powder gelatin is bloomed in 1 Tbs water, melt) is soaked in water and add to the filling at the same time with butter and vanilla help the cuts cleaner.  
     Sprinkle banana slices with two Tbs of orange juice help to prevent banana slices turns dark as in America test kitchen’s. 
     You may want to stabilize whipped cream with gelatin like in Black forest cake so the pie will still look good for a while.

Graham cracker crust for one 9-inch pie shell/crust:

   1½ cup Graham Cracker crumbs or one half of 14.4 oz box Graham Crackers ( honey maid/honey grahams of       Nabisco)
   6 Tbs unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 oF with a rack in center.  Melt butter and mix well with graham cracker crumbs.  If using whole graham crackers, pulse them in a food processor finely, then add melt butter, pulse until well combined. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the side and bottom of a 9-inch pie dish.  Start by spreading crumb mixture into the bottom of the pie dish-more at the edge.  Then use a flexible or offset spatula and fingers, push the crumbs up and against the side about 1/4-inch thick.   Bake in preheat oven for 10 minutes.  If using a removable bottom pie dish, you need to put it in a rimmed baking sheet/tray.  Remove from oven, cool completely on a wire rack.
Almond sweet dough:  
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1¼ all purpose flour
3.5 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2/3 of a large egg (slightly beaten and divide)
1/4 tsp salt

Beat butter until smooth with paddle attack at low speed.   Add powder sugar,egg, almond flour and  until just incorporated.-the dough may look curdled.  Add flour in three or four sections until no trace of white flour-the dough still look crumbled. Stop, do not overmix.  Place the mixture into center of large plastic wrap, gather the dough into a 1/2-inch thick disk.  The dough will be very soft like butter cookie dough. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour up to two days. The dough can be frozen up to a month. 

Roll the dough out to 11 inch in diameter between two layers of plastic wrap. Roll from center outward and turn the dough to 45ͦ and continue rolling and turning until the diameter is large enough. If a crack appears, roll the edges from the sides together.  After a few rollings lift and detach the top plastic wraps from the dough, put it back and turn over and detach the bottom plastic wrap (now is on the top).  If the dough is getting too soft, put it back to the fridge/freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the top plastic wrap.  Turn the dough over, the bottom sheet still attacked to the dough and bring it up over  the pie disk, ease the sides down. Remove the plastic wrap. Trim excess dough around (bake them like cookies ) or fold extra dough underneath the rim and flute the edge with floured fingers, and  chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking.  

Preheat oven to 350 oF with a rack in the center.  Cut a large piece of parchment paper ore foil, line the inside of the pie shell, add pie weight or bean, or rice.  Bake until the edge is light brown about 18-20 minutes. 

Remove the bean/pie weight and parchment paper and  bake until light golden brown about 8-10 more minutes.  If the edge is browning too fast, cover with foil.   Remove from oven, press down any bubbles.  Cool completely on wire rack.

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