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