Saturday, May 10, 2008

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

I had forgotten how good this pie is! I made it again today for the first time in years. It was my mother-in-laws birthday and I wanted to surprise her with a twist on her favorite pie - banana cream. My recipes notes indicate I originally came across this recipe in the October 1998 issue of Cooking Light. It is an absolutely delicious pie and looks so pretty, but it's really not hard to make. Now that I've become reacquainted with it I'll be making it much more frequently!
Pastry Crust
- light and flaky, one of my favorite pie crusts
1 c flour, divided
3 T ice water
1/2 t cider vinegar
1 T powdered sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 c vegetable shortening
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Combine 1/4 c flour, ice water and vinegar. Stir with a whisk until well-blended; this is a "slurry".
  • Combine 3/4 c flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add slurry and toss with a flork until flour mixture is moist. Gently press mixture into a 4" circle on heavy duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. (I just use a zippered pastry bag which is so easy and works wonderfully).
  • Roll dough, still covered, into a 12" circle. Remove top sheet of plastic warp and fit dough, plastic warp side up, into a 9" pie plate. Remove plastic wrap and press the dough against bottom and sides of pan. Fold edges under and flute.
  • Line bottom of dough with a piece of foil; arrange pie weights on foil (I use a bag of dried black beans. However, after baking keep the beans to re-use only as pie weights since you can no longer eat them).
  • Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until edge is lightly browned. Remove pie weights and foil; cool on a wire rack.
Black Bottom Banana-Cream Pie
1 (9") Pastry Crust
3 T cornstarch, divided
2 T sugar
2 T cocoa
Dash of salt
1 1/3 c skim milk, divided
1 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
2 large eggs
1 T unsalted butter
2 t vanilla
2 oz light cream cheese, softened
2 c sliced ripe bananas (abt 2 large)
1 1/2 c freshly whipped cream *
Chocolate shavings (optional) **
  • Prepare and bake Pastry Crust.
  • Combine 1 T cornstarch, 2 T sugar, cocoa and dash of salt in a small heavy sauce pan. Gradually add 1/3 c milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 2 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in chocolate, bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Spread chocolate mixture onto bottom of prepared crust.
  • Combine 2 T cornstarch, 1/2 c sugar, 1/4 t salt, eggs, 1 c milk and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 30 seconds or until thick. Remove from heat, add vanilla.
  • Beat cream cheese until light (appx 30 sec). Add 1/4 c hot custard to cream cheese and beat just until blended. Stir in remaining custard.
  • Arrange banana slices on top of chocolate layer; spoon custard over bananas and gently smooth with a spatula. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard; chill 4 hrs. Remove plastic wrap and spread freshly whipped cream evenly over custard. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.
* To make fresh whipped cream: pour 4 oz heavy whipping cream into a chilled bowl, add 1 t sugar, 1/2 t vanilla and beat until cream is thickened and soft peaks form.
** To make chocolate shavings: using a vegetable peeler drag it across the back of a bar of semi-sweet baking chocolate until desired amount of shavings are created.

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