Banana Cream Pie Pleasures

Early spring brings a dearth of fresh fruit.  I find the apples to be less than optimal for pies after about February.  I was looking for something fresh and fruity.  No frozen fruit either; pricey to fill a whole pie and I really try to find things that are seasonal.  No rhubarb yet, just made a shoofly pie… hummn. I had a pie to bake for Joe’s birthday, he loves a pie so what to make, he isn’t a pear fan either. My sister said why not a banana cream pie? Bananas are here and fresh so yes! Besides, 2016 is my year of the pie plus I just love sharing a great pie recipe.  Here goes…

My mom used to make this pie when I was in my thirties; for some reason she never made it for us as kids.  I remember cutting up and setting the banana rounds in the baked pie shell for her.  The contrast of the rich custard, the flaky crust and the fluffy cream with the delicate banana flavor is just so memorable.  And if you can bake a pie crust and make custard this pie is simple.  If you want, buy a crust in a package to bake; that works too.  I assume you can use a box pudding but I highly recommend this custard, straight out of Betty Crocker’s 1978 cookbook.  It is an easy pie to convert to gluten free; just get that pie crust baked fully as it doesn’t go back in the oven.

I only have a couple of pictures and I have to say my pie filling was soft so the pictures do not do this pie justice; I guess I need to make it extra firm for some better shots. Trust me; it taste much better than my pictures hint at.

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Mom’s Banana Cream Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup corn starch

½ tsp sea salt

3 cups whole milk or 2 percent, no lower fat than that

4 egg yolks beaten lightly

2 tbsp. butter cut into small cubes.

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 large bananas

Topping: 1 cup whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: Mix the dry ingredients in a 1 ½ qt sauce pan, Add the milk and stir as it heats.  Once it reaches a boil time it for one minute, STIRRING CONSTANTLY.  Then add 1/3 of it to the egg yolks, stir and return all to the pan, bring back to boil and time for one minute stirring constantly.  Add the butter and stir as it melts, then the vanilla, stir.  Pour into a mixing bowl, let cool a bit and then put a film of plastic wrap on the top; press it down onto the custard.  Chill at least an hour before using. Do not use until cold.  I must confess I nearly burnt my custard and actually strained it to get out any lump or browned bits.  It had a bit of a caramelized flavor due to the near disaster but I loved that sugary taste so I will maybe let it get like that next time too.

Roll out pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Prick with a fork evenly every inch so it won’t bubble as it bakes.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 12-18 minutes until the crust is light brown.  Cool at least 15 minutes

Cut peeled bananas into 1/2 inch rounds and cover the bottom of the pie crust with them close together.  Pour the custard over the sliced fruit and smooth the top.

Chill pie 1- 4 hours before slicing and serving cold topped with a big dollop of whipped cream.

Whipped cream: Beat cold whipping cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks; add a quarter cup powdered sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla.  Do not beat any more, just stir in.

I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crust will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great as when really fresh.

Note: I froze my egg whites for later use in a cake. No wasting them, that’s for sure!

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

** Pie filling from Betty Crocker Cook Book, 1978 Edition.

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