8/23/10

A Place to Play and Pray

Deer family
"Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." - John Muir

My Grama lives in the North Georgia mountains on a beautiful lake.  Our family - immediate, extended, honorary, and adopted - has come here for many years to play and pray.  We all get together for the major summer holidays and then sporadically throughout the year, and massive amounts of food are always involved when we get together.   This is the place that I think of when I read John Muir's quote.  Where is your place to play and pray?

When I called to tell my Grama that I was coming for a visit, I asked her if she had any dessert requests.  She replied, "Banana Cream pie appeals to me, no pun intended!"  So I set out on a mission to find the best Banana Cream Pie recipe.  Dorie Greenspan gives the perfect version in her book Baking:  From My Home to Yours.  This version is time-intensive, and it requires a lot of attention.  I suggest having an extra set of hands to help.  My mom was my baking companion for this adventure. 

This pie is amazing and has secured its spot in Jim Bob's short list of favorite desserts.

Banana Cream Pie


Banana Cream Pie

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
For the custard:
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into bits


3 ripe but firm bananas

1 9-inch single pie crust, fully baked and cooled

For the topping:
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. sour cream (I omitted this.)

To make the custard:  Bring the milk to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until well blended and thick.  Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk - this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle - then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.  Put the pan over medium heat, and whisking constantly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes before removing from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky.  You can either press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard until cold, or if you want to cool the custard quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir occasionally until the custard is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about one quarter of it over the bottom of the piecrust - it will be a thin layer.  Top with half of the banana slices.  Repeat, adding a thin layer of pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry cream over the last layer of bananas.

To Make the Topping:  Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken.  Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks.  Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the sour cream (if you choose to use it).

To Finish:  Spoon the whipped cream over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard.  Serve, or refrigerate until needed.

Note:  This dessert is best consumed the day it is made.

Source:  Dorie Greenspan, Baking:  From My Home to Yours

Banana Cream Pie

5 comments:

j said...

There isn't much Jenn bakes or cooks that I don't like. That being said this may be my favorite dessert now. It really was a perfect combination of flavors.

Love you babe,
JB

Grama Joyce said...

Jenny,

Magnificently delicious! Yes, it was a perfect combination of the sweetness of love and granddaughter delight!! Thank you for thinking of me, Jenny. I love you so much! ... Grama

KathySue said...

Sounds like a wonderfully creamy banana pudding in a pie shell--and the topping is just tantalizing!!!

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I'll definitely be trying this one! Looks delicious and banana anything is a favorite of my husband and eldest grandson!

Amy said...

My mouth is watering just looking at that pie! Next time you decide to make it, I'm coming over :)

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