Friday, April 30, 2010

Do You Dream in Banana?

Because this pie sure does!  I've spend a few weeks perfecting this recipe for banana cream pie.  I wanted a filling that didn't use eggs.  I wanted it to be fluffy and creamy.  So, here's my new banana cream pie, and Leah says it's the best banana pie she's ever had.  I think she might be biased, but still...

2 walnut crusts (see below)
Sliced bananas to cover crusts

  • 2 cups half and half (or milk, if you want to be lame)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/3 (or even 1/4) cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 package unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water

3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

In the blender, blend two bananas and 1 cup half and half.  In a saucepan, mix sugar (1/3 cup), cornstarch, and salt.  Before adding heat, stir in banana/half and half mixture plus the extra cup of half and half.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, dissolve gelatin in cold water.  Set aside.  As pudding mixture heats, stir constantly.  Do not let boil, though it's not a big deal if you do.  Once hot, take off heat and stir in dissolved gelatin.  Put in fridge to set up.

While pudding is setting up, whip the cream to stiff peaks.  If you only whip to soft peaks, pie will not set up.  Set aside.

In bowl, beat eggs, remaining sugar, and cream of tartar.  Whip to very stiff peaks.  (Note, while everyone else probably knows this, the cream of tartar is not optional.  In fact, the pie will not set up without it.)  Set aside.

Once the pudding begins to congeal on edges of saucepan, remove from fridge and blend with rotary beater.  Fold in cream and meringue.  Put mixture into walnut crusts topped with sliced bananas and cool overnight.  

Walnut Crust:  There are two ways to do this.  The first is to make a regular pie crust and just sprinkle lots of chopped walnuts on the top before cooking it.  The other way is to make the crust OUT of walnuts.  Make it just like a graham cracker crust only with chopped walnuts.  Note that this way doesn't hold its shape very well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chocolate Cream Popcorn

I tried this today for something a little different, and loved it!!!

2 quarts popped corn
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lightly grease large bowl, and place the popped corn in it.

In saucepan, mix sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Cook over moderate heat to 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Add butter; when it is melted; add chocolate. Stir in vanilla extract.

Slowly pour hot syrup over popped corn, stirring constantly with two forks.

Continue stirring until corn is coated and syrup loses its gloss. When mixture is cool; store in tightly covered containers.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Torta Rustica

I made this because I thought it looked good.  Needless to say, I didn't have leftovers.

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, browned
1 large egg separated
8 oz. ricotta cheese
2 packages (10 oz. each) refrigerated pizza crust or regular pie crust (I put chopped fresh basil in mine)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red bell peppers
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

Mix egg yolk with ricotta cheese.  Set white aside.  Take half us pizza dough (or pie crust) and roll it out; line piepan.  Top with half of mozzarella cheese and half of sausage.  Top with all of bell peppers, ricotta mixture, and basil leaves.  Top with remaining sausage and mozzarella cheese.  Now, top with other half or dough (or crust).  Brush top crust with reserved egg white.  Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.  After about 15 minutes of cooking, you may want to cover with foil.  Voila!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rice Krispie Easter Eggs

If you ever need a fun, crative, food craft for Easter, this is it!
3 Tblsp. butter
40 large marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie's Cereal
Food coloring (varius colors)
Melt butter and marshmallows in a pan on low heat. Add cereal and stir until coated. With buttered hands, shape into eggs. (I poured the mixture in to a buttered pan to cool slightly and they were easier to shape.) Cool.
Put 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar in each bowl. Add a drop of food coloring and stir until mixed. If you want a richer color, add more color. Roll treats in the sugar. Frost or decorate with candy if you want! YUM!