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Dessert Pie: Banana Cream Pie


Here in L.A., I love the Apple Pan's Banana Cream Pie for it's thick layers of fresh banana and while I unfortunately don't know the source of this recipe, it is as close as I have found but I've substituted the flaky pie dough to Cook's Illustrated interesting crust. This takes time and requires several refrigerations so plan ahead.

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  • 1 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 3 –4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks, well beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small bits
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large very ripe but not overripe bananas, cut into 1/4-thick rounds
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: chocolate shavings



Step 1

1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar in food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with five one-second pulses. Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than a small pea, about four more one-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the water over mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into flour mixture, then repeatedly press down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into ball with hands, then flatten into 4-inch wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes before rolling.

3. Generously sprinkle 18-inch work area with 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs. Remove dough from wrapping and place in center of work area. Scatter a few more crumbs over disk top. Roll dough from center to edges to make 9-inch disk, rotating a quarter turn after each stroke and sprinkling additional crumbs underneath and on top, as necessary, to heavily coat dough. Flip dough and continue to roll, without rotating, into 13-inch disk just under 1/8-inch thick.

4. Fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of 9-inch Pyrex pie pan. Unfold dough to cover pan completely, with excess dough draped over pan lip. Trim and flute crust, (see illustrations 1-4 below).

5. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 30 minutes. Prick shell at 1/2-inch intervals to keep dough from ballooning during baking, (illustration 5). Press a doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil inside pie shell. Prick foil to prevent further ballooning. Refrigerate to let dough relax, at least 30 minutes longer.

6. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, checking occasionally for ballooning, until crust is firmly set, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove foil, and continue to bake until crust is crisp and golden brown in color, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt until well-blended. Gradually whisk in, one at a time, milk, heavy cream and egg yolks, whisking until no yellow streaks remain.

Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. Custard will begin to lump. Off heat, scrape sides of saucepan with rubber spatula and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.

Return to heat and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in butter, then vanilla. Lay plastic wrap directly on surface of filling, to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool (can be refrigerated for 24 hours).

Spoon a third of vanilla cream filling into crust. Scatter half of sliced bananas evenly over filling. Repeat process. Top with remaining filling.

Lay plastic wrap directly on surface of filling. Refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.

In a medium bowl, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks, about 2-4 minutes.

Before serving, spread whipped cream evenly over pie along with chocolate shavings, if using.

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