Or: The Pie Only a Grandma Could Love!
my little pie, inside a vintage 9" pie pan
When I floated the idea of Banana Cream Pie to my book group and family members, I got a lot of reactions along the lines of "eew." Personally, I like cream pies and banana ones are fine in my book. I mean they have sugar and cream, right? Although I'm not super-wild about the pieces of banana in the custard (don't like them in banana/nilla wafer pudding either) I'll definitely eat a slice of banana cream pie if it's put in front of me.
But seeing as this assignment fell in Lent, I wouldn't be eating it, and with my family and my book group both voting "no," I was left with a dilemma of what to do with the pie. It's not the easiest thing to send to the office with my husband, either. Finally I decided to halve the recipe and give the pie away to my in-laws, who I was pretty sure would enjoy it.
- Back at Thanksgiving, I compared Dorie's crust to the Cook's Illustrated (vodka method) crust, and CI came out on top [you can find the taste test at the end of my Twofer Pie post] because of its ease of handling, and superior flakiness and crispness. But I had a partial batch of Dorie's pie crust in the freezer, and a 7" foil pie pan on the foil shelf in the basement (I keep an assortment for giving away food), so I was set to make a half recipe.
- Somewhere along the way I'd read that both egg whites and egg yolks can be frozen. Without bothering to see if there are any special requirements (it turns out there are), about a month ago I tossed a bunch of leftover egg yolks in the freezer.
- I found out the hard way that thawed yolks are very thick, so whisking was difficult. When I put it over heat the pastry cream never made it to the boiling point -it thickened very quickly. I was thinking that I'd added too much cornstarch (when I halved the recipe, I went by weight not volume.) But now that I've read the P&Q, I see that others had this exact same problem. Except that they had the good sense to thin the thick pastry cream with milk. duh.
- So the cream was very thick and borderline lumpy from the thick egg yolks and maybe too much cornstarch. It looked exactly like beige wallpaper paste.
- Dorie's crust doesn't hold an edge as well as one made with more shortening. Also, I used my new pie weight chain to blind bake the crust, and while the bottom stayed flat, the crust shrank a lot. Luckily it didn't matter with a cream pie.
This was one homely pie!
I saved two little teaspoons of filling, which I studded with pieces of banana and a dab of the whipped cream. I tasted one and gave one to my daughter A.L.E. Her reaction:
"I like it better than I expected"
The flavors went together very well. It's not particularly sweet, but quite creamy and silky, with a nice flavor from the brown sugar and spices.
My daughters brought the pie with them on a visit to their grandparents' house, where it made a huge hit. So the next time I have an urgent call for a banana cream pie, I know exactly which recipe I'll turn to!
Amy of Sing for Your Supper chose this week's TWD recipe, which you can find on her post, or on pages 342 and 343 of Dorie Greenspan's wonderful book Baking From My Home to Yours.. Check out the TWD blogroll to see how everyone else's pie turned out.