image via bon appetempt
I made this pie last week. My husband, who is a Banana Cream Pie connoisseur, said it was the best Banana Cream Pie ever.
I watched an episode of Mind of a Chef recently. It was the episode titled “Rotten”. What could possibly be more frugal than rotten food? True, in a way. What’s considered rot to someone might be someone else’s kimchi. Anyway, it was on this episode that I watched Christina Tosi make this delicious looking Banana Cream Pie from entirely way too ripe bananas. Mesmerizing and oh-so-gross to watch her open the blackened bananas at one end and squeeze out the banana-shaped moosh.
So,of course…the next time I had entirely way-too-ripe bananas , I decided I had to make this pie. It uses way more butter than I would ever use unless I had my own cow but otherwise, I had all the ingredients on hand, so I don’t know cost breakdown. Probably not super frugal if you didn’t have ingredients on hand in your pantry and had to go out and buy all the ingredients at once but um…if you’re able to be a little indulgent and have rotten bananas, this pie beats banana bread any day.
There’s a whole fabulous picture tutorial here: Bon AppÃ©tempt: Banana Cream Pie.
This is the recipe:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup good-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until mixed. Add the butter and mix on low until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
Spread the crumbs on a parchment or silicone mat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Let the crumbs cool completely before using or eating. [This latter part about not eating it until it cooled made me curious. So curious that I ate a few crumbs before they had completely cooled. AND they were delicious. Go figure?]
Chocolate Crust (makes 1 10-inch pie crust)
3/4 of the chocolate crumb recipe above
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter
Break up the chocolate crumbs into a bowl. Add sugar and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to start. With your hands, knead until it is moist enough to form a ball. If it isn’t moist enough, add another tablespoon of melted butter. Press the crust firmly into the pie plate, making sure the bottom and sides are evenly covered.
2 very ripe bananas. [We are talking about black/brown bananas here. Tosi says this makes all the difference in the world.]
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
2 gelatin sheets (or 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 just-ripe (yellow) banana, sliced
Combine the ripe bananas, 1/3 cup heavy cream, and 1/4 cup milk in a blender & puree until totally smooth. Add the next section of ingredients–the sugar, cornstarch, salt, & egg yolks and blend. Pour into a medium saucepan. Clean out the blender.
Bloom the gelatin. (To bloom sheet gelatin, soak it in a small bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Gently squeeze to remove any excess water before using. To bloom powdered gelatin, sprinkle it evenly onto the surface of 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small dish or cup. Allow to soften for 3-5 minutes.)
Whisk the contents of the pan and heat over medium-low heat. As the banana mixture heats up, it will thicken. Bring to a boil and then continue to whisk vigorously for 2 minutes to fully cook out the starch. The mixture will resemble thick glue, bordering on cement, with a color to match. [I really like Tosi’s description here. It was so helpful as this is exactly what happens. She left out one thing, though. At this point, you will definitely have broken a sweat.]
Dump the contents of the pan into the blender. Add the bloomed gelatin and butter and blend until smooth and even. Color the mixture with yellow food coloring until it is bright yellow. Tosi realizes that this is a lot of coloring, but says, “banana creams don’t get that brilliant yellow color on their own. Womp,” which I think is a good enough argument for food coloring as any.
Transfer the mixture to a heatsafe container & chill in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes or until completely cooled.
Using a whisk or a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream and powdered sugar to medium-soft peaks. Add the cold banana mixture to the whipped cream and slowly whisk until evenly colored and homogenous. (Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, this will stay fresh for up to 5 days.)
Pour half the banana cream into the chocolate pie shell. Cover with a layer of sliced banana and then cover that with the remaining filling.