Monday, April 11, 2011

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie

Move over bananas, your best friends are sharing some of your tart space.  The end result is a party--a marvelous strawberry-banana-custard-sugar-cookie-vanilla-whipped-cream-party that is the perfect finish to a beautiful meal.

I know that one look at the ingredient list and the steps involved is going to send some people running.  Let me assure you of something before you try to flee--you will not be disappointed.  This pie is better than any vanilla pudding in a box cream pie recipe out there and that's before you add the sweet and juicy strawberries.  Of all the steps, making the custard is the one that needs your undivided attention, and in my opinion, is the most important.  It is the diva of this pie and is what will make it or break it.

Custard for some people seems like an overly daunting task, but as long as the eggs are tempered and you don't scorch the custard, you should be set.  To temper, or acclimatize, add a small quantity of hot milk to your yolks and whisk like crazy.  If you add a large quantity of hot milk, the eggs will cook or curdle instead of incorporating into the mixture, and if that happens, you're toast.  Finished.  Fini.  The same is true if you are not whisking constantly.  You will be whisking for each step of the custard.  Do. Not. Stop.  Add the remainder of the hot milk in a slow and steady stream and you will have successfully incorporated the yolks.  That is the first half of victorious custard; the second half is cooking and thickening, a process that will move quickly.  The key here is avoid scorching the pan.  Again, you will be whisking like crazy, but in addition to that, do not be afraid of lifting your pan off the heat if things seem to be progressing too fast for you.  The custard should be silky and creamy; however don't panic if you have some lumps in your custard.    Simply push the custard through a fine sieve to remove the lumps and no one will know the difference.

The crust is essentially a large, formed, and glorious sugar cookie. It has good flavor that compliments the custard filling, but still lets the custard be the star of the show. The only significant point to remember about the crust is that it needs to be cool before it is filled. If you fill a warm crust, you will have a soggy crust. In a word, boo. The crust only has a few responsibilities, but to look pretty, to hold the filling, and to be crunchy are its essential requirements.

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie
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2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, sliced
10 fresh strawberries, sliced

Tart Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk, beaten

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.  To make the filling:  Bring milk to boil in small saucepan. Set aside.

2.  In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk the yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt together until well blended and thick.  Whisking without stopping, drizzle about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, warming the eggs so they do not cook or curdle.  Still whisking, slowly add the remainder of the milk in a slow and steady stream.

3.  Place the pan over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.  Boil for one minute whisking continually and remove from the heat.  Mixture will be thick and silky and once it begins to boil it will thicken very quickly.  Don't be afraid to remove the pan from the flame to whisk it smooth.

4.  Whisk in vanilla extract; let stand for 5 minutes.  Whisk in butter, stirring until fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky.  Transfer custard to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the top surface of the custard, and refrigerate until cold throughout or up to 3 days.

5.  To make the tart crust:  Put flour, powdered sugar, and salt in food processor fit with the blade attachment.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Scatter butter cubes over dry ingredients; pulse until butter is coarsely cut in and the size of peas.  Add egg yolk one-third at a time with 10 second pulses in between each small addition.   Remove from bowl of food processor and knead sparingly to incorporate any dry ingredients from the bowl that did not incorporate into the mixture.

6.  Butter a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  Press the dough evenly over the bottom and the side.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes before baking.

7.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and place oven rake in the middle position.  Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, butter side down, tightly against the frozen crust.  Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil, gently press down any puffed up portions of the crust, and bake uncovered for 8-10 additional minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

8.  To make the topping:  With a hand mixer, beat heavy cream in large bowl until it just starts to thicken.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  Continue to beat until cream holds stiff peaks. 

9.  To assemble the pie:  Remove custard from refrigerator and allow to sit for approximately 30 minutes.  Whisk custard to loosen, add bananas, and stir.  Arrange a thin layer of strawberries into the cooled tart crust, reserving 1/2 cup to decorate the top of the fully assembled pie.  Top with custard-banana cream mixture.  With a rubber spatula, spoon whipped cream onto banana cream pie filling and smooth.  Top with reserved strawberries.  Pie can be served immediately or refrigerated for several hours; however, it will be best if served the day it is assembled.

Recipe by joythebaker


Julie said...

That looks delicious. Can't wait to try it!! Would love you to come check my blog out at The Farm Girl Recipes.

imkc said...

OK now you are just mocking me- bananas really! YUM! Looks great.

Mamahollioni said...

Julie--thanks for stopping by. I'll come check out your blog this afternoon.

Kacey--Not mocking you, but this was your dessert. I tried giving you this and the pulled pork, but when we just kept playing phone tag and our schedules weren't messing, we ate half and gave the other half to our neighbors. The offer for a meal is stil on the table...I will gladly make this again for you friend!

Desi said...

I saw this gorgeous pie linked over at Tasty Tuesdays so I had to stop by. I'm loving this, and your strawberry sorbet, and strawberry quick bread. I am your newest follower :)

Check out my blog and follow back if you like!

Kimberly said...

Oh yummy! A great spring/summer dessert!