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.

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