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Banana Cream Pie and Tips on Pie Crust

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If I were given this recipe and told that I had to come up with my own name for the pie, it would be Bananas Foster Cream Pie. With the exception of setting bananas on fire, the flavors in this pie are reminiscent of the classic dessert, Bananas Foster. In place of a typical vanilla pastry cream, Dorie subs out the white sugar and uses brown sugar, and adds cinnamon and nutmeg for an extra punch of earthy flavor. As I was whisking and whisking, and smelling the cream as it thickened, I couldn’t help but think that this pastry cream would be a perfect pairing for so many fall-inspired desserts – anything from apple to pumpkin, and everything in between.

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The only problem I really experienced with the pie was the crust itself. Between buttering the pie plate, the crust itself, and then buttering the foil for the blind bake, when I took the pan out and removed the foil, the crust was literally floating in a sea of butter, both underneath and on top of the crust. I was able to sop up a lot of it with a paper towel, but it resulted in sort of a soggy,  under-baked bottom part of the crust. I’ve tried so many crust recipes over the past few years and a lot of them have been hit or miss. The best result I’ve had so far has been the crust (well, technically, Pâte Brisée) that I used for the Blueberry Pie I made last summer. After reviewing that recipe I think perhaps the secret isn’t so much in the recipe itself, but rather the method. From what I recorded and what I recall from making that pie, these are the major differences:

♦  I put the butter, ice water, AND the dry ingredients in the freezer for a full hour before I began making the crust.

♦  After mixing the dough, I shaped it into a disk and put it in the refrigerator for two hours.

♦  I did not butter the pie plate.

♦  After rolling out the dough and fitting it into the pie plate, I refrigerated the pan for another hour.

♦  After the pie was filled and ready to be baked, I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes (this sstep wouldn’t be applicable for a blind-baked crust such as this Banana Cream Pie)

If you do the math, it’s definitely a time consuming process, but I still remember that crust and how wonderfully flaky it was. Totally worth it! The above will be the standard method I use for making pie crust from now on, regardless of what the actual ingredients are. Hopefully for those of you that have been foiled by crust catastrophes, you’ll give it one more shot and try the suggestions above! If you do, I’d love to hear how it turns out.

Recipe: Banana Cream Pie (printer-friendly)
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 342-343

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15 Responses to “Banana Cream Pie and Tips on Pie Crust”

  1. Tracey on April 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Your pie looks wonderful! I had the exact same problem with my pie crust so thanks for the tips.

    Reply

  2. Meghan on April 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Your pie looks delicious! I wrote a post a few weeks back on pie crust including tips from Rose Levy Beranbaum – the author of the Pie and Pastry Bible. She gives some of the same tips you’ve used – like freezing the ingredients and letting the dough rest at certain points. I’ve tried them and they work wonderfully!

    Reply

  3. Katrina on April 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Great looking and tasty pie!
    Thanks for the crust tips. Mine shrunk this time, but I’ve had great success with Dorie’s crust before. I will try some of your tips next time. I also thought the crust was very buttery. I didn’t even see you were supposed to or butter the pie plate.

    Reply

  4. Elyse on April 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Great tips about the crust! This pie looks awesome. I’m totally going to play around with the pastry cream and pair it with other things. It sounds delicious!

    Reply

  5. Cristine on April 8, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Beautiful pie and great tips!!!

    Reply

  6. Joelen on April 8, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Great tips Chelle and your pie looks delicious!

    Reply

  7. Mermaid Sweets on April 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Great pie crust tips and the pie looks gorgeous.

    Reply

  8. Kevin on April 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

    That pie looks so good!

    Reply

  9. Annette on April 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Your pie looks delicious! I had crust problems too, but mine was from not chilling the dough before putting it in the pie plate. It got too soft and tore. I’m determined to perfect my pie crust though!

    Reply

  10. Barbara on April 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    All your tips for pie crust are great ones. I have been doing all of them for years and they work really well for any recipe. Also, you can freeze the unfilled pie crust before blind baking — it will help it to hold its shape. Good luck with perfecting your pie crusts — you’re on the right track!

    And, Dorie’s crust has the most butter and fat of any recipe I’ve come across. You can still get a great crust with using less fat.

    Reply

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  12. Naomi on November 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I’m curious, have you tried a coconut cream pie? I’m looking for a good recipe…

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 18th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      Hi Naomi, I made a coconut cream pie once, way back before I was blogging. I’d like to give it another go this spring, so keep an eye out!

      Reply

      • Naomi on November 19th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

        Excellent, I’m excited to see what recipe you make! I used one yesterday from bakingbites.com and it was amazing, if I do say so myself. I chose it because it was the only one I found that recommended half and half and coconut milk as opposed to just milk. But I’d love to see how you feel about it when you make one! Since I use already made crust and they come two to a package, I made another pie today. I used a peanut butter cream pie base I found somewhere, but then I made whipped cream with mashed banana that I whipped into the cream, and folded that into the peanut butter base, then I crushed Reese’s peanut butter cups and lined the crust with it before I poured the filling into the crust. I hope it turns out well! Thought I’d share the idea. The whipped cream did come out a little watery, I guess from the banana, but otherwise it was delicious.

        Reply

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