Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh My.........Banana Cream Pie

I love having a house full of family and friends, we entertain a lot especially in the summer. We have a big deck off our kitchen which makes it great. I find entertaining to be very easy and satisfying, a lot of people would disagree.  I think the menu should be easy, I want my friends and family to come and enjoy themselves, and I want to ENJOY myself too.  There's  nothing like having a stressed out hostess, makes it uncomfortable for EVERYONE!!! 
One of the simplest desserts that I often make is Banana Cream Pie, and it's one of my favorite desserts too!   I even switch it up by using the same recipe, without the banana's, and add toasted coconut, and it's Coconut Cream Pie!  I also make this pie into a trifle, I omit the crust, and layer the custard, whipped cream, banana's and vanilla wafer cookies into a big glass bowl....YUMMO!!!!

But today I'm going to show you my recipe for an old fashioned Banana Cream Pie. I use the same crust recipe I posted with the Chicken Pot Pie a couple days ago, it's flaky and so easy to make.  The filling, with the whipped cream is so easy, and just simply delicious, I promise, you will wow your family and friends.

Pie Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vinegar
In a large bowl put the flour and salt, and shortening, then using a pastry cutter or 2 knives cut the shortening into the flour and salt. Using a liquid measuring cup, break one egg into it, and then fill it to the 1/2 cup line with ice cold water, and add 1 tsp vinegar.....YES will be fine you'll see. Mix it with a fork, then add it to the flour/shortening mixture and mix together with with a fork, then get your hands in there and gather the dough together don't be afraid, this pie dough recipe you can work the dough and it will still be flaky! Form into a round disk, if it's too wet, add a little more flour, too dry, add very little will be sticky, but not overly sticky.....all depends on the day and humidity.......wrap in plastic wrap and put in the frig for about 1/2 hour, or you can even leave it in there for 2 days, or freeze it for whatever pie you want :)

Rolling out the pie dough
You will only need to roll out 1/2 of the dough disk for this pie, since there is no top crust for this pie.  Cut the disk in half, and using your hands shape the dough into a ball then on a well-floured surface, using your rolling pin, flatten it out and put more flour on the pin and on top of the dough and roll out into a round circle big enough for your pie plate.  Keep moving the dough around so it doesn't stick.  Put the dough into a pie plate, don't stretch it, lay it in the pie plate forming the plate, if you stretch it the dough will shrink when you bake it, and you don't want that! Now cut off the extra dough hanging over the edge of the pie plate, and make a pretty fluting edge. Put it into the frig and chill for about 1 hour, yes making a most delicious pie takes time and patience!!!!  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and now your going to "blind bake" the pie shell. Prick with a fork so it doesn't bubble up, and bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown.
Hint When I "blind bake" (that means baking an empty pie shell in the oven for pies with cream filling that don't have to be baked)  a pie crust, sometimes the pie shell "shrinks" so I always put the uncooked pie shell in the frige to really get it chilled, "blind bake" using dry beans, or pie weights. Put a piece of tin foil on the chilled pie shell and then add dry beans, and bake in the oven on 400 degrees, after about 10 minutes or so simply take the tin foil off the pie shell, and continue to bake the pie shell until lightly brown.  Cool before adding the filling.
Vanilla Pudding Filling
1 2/3 cups water
3 TBS cornstarch
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
2 TBS butter
1 tsp. vanilla
In a medium pot, add the water and cornstarch, whisk until combined, add the sweetened condensed milk, whisk. Separate the yolks from the eggs, be careful not to get any egg white into the yolks, it's very simple, break the egg and use your fingers to separate the eggs.  Pour 1/4 cup of the water/cornstarch sweetened condensed milk mixture in the bowl of egg yolks, this is called tempering the yolks so the heat doesn't scramble the eggs, mix with a fork, and add them into the pot of water/cornstarch and sweetened condensed milk, and whisk, whisk, whisk until it thickens about 5 minutes or so, you will see it bubble up and get thick, don't let it burn, nothing like burnt pudding, keep whisking!!!  Now when it's all thick and delicious looking take the pot off the heat, and add 2 TBS butter and 1 tsp vanilla.  Whisk it again, until the butter is melted and let cool.  I usually put a piece of plastic wrap directly on top touching the pudding so a "skin" doesn't form. 

Wbipped Cream - do this right before you serve the pie!
1/2 pint COLD Whipping Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream (they are the same thing, but the "Whipping Cream" is CHEAPER!
1/4 cup sugar
When the Pudding filling and pie crust are cool, now you can assemble the pie.  Slice about 3 banana's and lay them on the bottom of the baked and cool pie shell.  Add the pudding filling on top of the banana's.  Chill for 4 hours or overnight.  Just before serving, whip the whipped cream, and put on top of the pudding filling.  Serve immediately.  Took a while to do, but so YUMMO!!

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