Pie #13 – Banana Cream Pie

NOT a Frito Pie

Today’s selection comes to you courtesy of “Loud” Jen Beck. It was more of a plan B than plan A though. Her original request was something called Frito Pie. It isn’t something I would consider pie. It’s more like nachos and I would call it a pie in name only. Of course she had to counter that Shepherd Pie is also only a pie in name only as it has no crust. She would classify it as more of a casserole. That’s fine, I wasn’t going to make one of those either:)

I’m not a huge fan of bananas, let alone bananas in custard topped with whipped cream. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat it though…

The crust:

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, about 16 graham crackers destroyed in a food processor

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (I used 1/3 of a cup as the crumbs seemed dry, and I like butter)

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients until well blended. Press evenly into a 9 inch pie dish, starting at the center and working your way outward until the crust is even on bottom and sides of pie dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack or your oven top to cool.

The filling:

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

2 tbsp. butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large ripe bananas

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Blend in a bowl. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Slowly whisk in the milk, vanilla extract and the whipping cream. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and blend half the custard into the egg yolks. Combine the mixture with the yolks and return to the saucepan. Return to a boil and cook until thickened which is about 6 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap. Cool the mixture before chilling in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Cut the bananas into 1/2 inch slices and blend in with lemon juice, gently. Fill the pie crust with one cup of the chilled custard mix. Place a layer of bananas. Repeat the layers twice. The recipe at this point says to refrigerate for 6 hours. Forget that! Topping stat!

The topping:

1 1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp. confectioner sugar

1 large ripe banana, sliced into 1/3 inch pieces to decorate the top

cinnamon to dust the top

Beat the chilled whipping cream and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until firm. Slather the mix over the top of the pie. Place the banana pieces decoratively in the whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon.

I whipped the topping earlier in the day, while the custard was chilling. We have friends visiting from Houston and San Francisco and this evenings event was Texas roller derby. So basically the topping is one of those “plan ahead” things you can do if you need to tend to other things in your life. I got home at 10 pm and assembled the pie and will be having this with Jen, and others, tomorrow morning with my coffee.

Pie #12 – Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Busy, busy weekend. Lots of Halo Reach. Lots o’ basketball, shopping and prepping for Andre’s 9th birthday party.  A party of over a dozen 8 and 9 year-old boys, with a few 10-year-old girls thrown in for nerf gun target practice. There were games, cake, a pinata, and lots of sugar. Our last guests left around 7pm. I wanted to go with something comforting but simple. Blueberry sour-cream it is.

Big YUM

The crust:

1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes

2 tbsp. sugar

pinch of salt

3 tbsp. or more of ice water

Blend the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor using on/off turns. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix until moist clumps form. Add additional water by teaspoon if the mix is dry. Remove from processor and form into a ball. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Let set in the fridge a minimum of 3o minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and remove the dough after half hour. Roll out on lightly floured surface into a 13 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Trim the dough and use the remnants to patch any holes you might have around the crust edge or in the dish. It doesn’t have to be pretty, you’re going to fill it with blueberries in cream.

Freeze the crust for 10 minutes. Line crust with foil and add dry beans or pie weights ( I still haven’t seen these) and bake for about 15 minutes until the sides are set. Remove from oven, remove beans and foil.

The filling:

1 cup of sour cream

3/4 cups sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. unbleached flour

1 egg, beaten  (physically not verbally)

3/4 tsp. almond extract

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (2 containers, 4 bux at HEB)

Whisk the sour cream, sugar, salt, flour, almond extract and egg  in medium bowl. Mix in the blueberries. Spoon the filling into the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the filling sets.

The topping (it’s clumpy crumble):

6 tbsp. unbleached flour

1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used one stick by mistake and added a couple of tablespoons of flour to give it more crumble. It kinda worked)

1/3 cups chopped pecans

2 tbsp. sugar

Using your fingertips, mix the flour and butter until small clumps form. Mix in the pecans and sugar. Sprinkle the topping over pie. Continue to bake at 400 degrees F until the topping is lightly browned, about 12 minutes. You may want to place a tin foil collar around the crust as you would be reaching the point of super crunchiness. Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.  And that’s it. The prep time isn’t long and the baking isn’t really bad either. And it is reaaallllly tasty.

Pie #6 – Coconut Cream Pie

My current favorite, coconut cream pie

Happy New Year! Tammi and I just got back from Louisiana so the pie adventure was pushed to the weekend. It was also Olivia’s birthday on 12/31 so  fun, games and parties were to be had. I decided to make the pie the day of Olivia’s birthday party at our house, figuring it wouldn’t take too long. Wrong! And cooking while 8-10 screaming 10 and 11 year olds, (along with parents coming and going) added an element of mild frenzy to the whole exercise.

About 2 hours prior to the party I went shopping for the ingredients I needed. Locating the supplies was slightly confusing. Mostly because I couldn’t figure out where corn starch and coconut milk were on the aisles of the local HEB. coconut milk was in the condiments and international food aisle.  Corn starch, I thought, would be somewhere near the flower. It wasn’t.

I made a simple pie crust from scratch. A basic pie crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold)

1 large egg

2 tsp. white vinegar

2 tbsp. ice-cold water

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the vegetable shortening and butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture. Blend the mixture until it has the consistency of wet sand with a few pea size pieces of butter and shortening remain. Mmmmmm, sand. Using a fork or whisk, beat the egg with the vinegar and water. Slowly pour over the egg mixture over the flower, stirring until the mixture is moist. The dough should stick together and hold the shape of a ball. Divide the dough into two, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator a minimum of 30 minutes. For this pie, only one piece of the dough is needed. I used the other to fill in any cracks to the dough I put in the dish.

Roll dough from center to edge until crust is desired thickness (usually 1/8″ thick) and at least 1″ wider than pie plate. It the dough sticks to the rolling-pin, try placing cellophane over dough and then roll it out. Remove the plastic wrap and transfer to pie plate by rolling the dough onto the rolling-pin and then positioning it over the plate. If the crust is sticking to the rolling-pin surface, carefully separate it by sliding a sharp knife or spatula between the crust and rolling surface. Carefully press the dough into the pie plate. If cracks appear, use lightly floured fingers to push the seams back together.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prebake for 15 minutes.

The dough will last up to 3 days. If you want to freeze the extra crust, roll out the dough and line the plate you’ll be using. Once the crust is frozen, remove from you plate and freeze in a large freezer bag. It’ll last for up to 3 months.

And now for the coconut cream filling:)

1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

4 large egg yolks

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch (note: cornstarch and corn meal are not the same thing!)

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups whole milk

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 tbsp. unsalted softened butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1 cup chilled whipping cream

2 tbsp. confectioners sugar

1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

Start by spreading the 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Set aside for topping. Using a fork, beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a larger saucepan. Slowly whisk in the milk and coconut milk over medium heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, still whisking. Quickly transfer half the milk mixture to the bowl holding the egg yolks. Whisk to combine, then return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan. Return to a boil and cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla and unsweetened coconut into the milk mixture. If, by some accident, you purchase even more sweetened coconut flake, take heart, it just makes the pie taste that much sweeter… Pour custard mixture into the pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming on the top of the custard. Let it cool and then refrigerate for 2 hours. Once set, beat the cream, confectioners sugar and coconut extract using and electric mixer until stiff. Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap and top custard with whipped cream. Garnish with the toasted coconut.

The girls who stayed for Olivia’s slumber party gave it a thumbs up, and my wife also like it very much. Myself? This one is definitely one of my favorites. The custard held firm, and the crust was flaky and didn’t turn to mush once I poured the custard.

In the new year, I now only have 46 more pies to bake. This is my resolution.

Blueberry Yogurt Cream Pie

The first.

I bought a pie recipe book with 500 different types of pies and tarts. I then went to William Sonoma and bought some pie crust mix and a really sweet pie dish. I decided that my wife and/or kids will choose a random recipe from the Pie and Tart Book week and then I will put it all together on Wednesday evenings. My family and I will sample the wares every Thursday after dinner. My family seems very agreeable to this. Home baked dessert once a week? Fabulous!

The monday before Thanksgiving I chose my first pie. It was to be a blueberry yogurt cream pie. Being so close to Thanksgiving, it became the 1st pie on my baking adventure. Thanksgiving fell on a Thursday so the timing was perfect.

The Crust (this recipe makes 2 crusts and todays pie only needs one so divide the recipe in half unless you want to make 2)!:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

1 large egg

2 tsp. white vinegar

2 tbsp. ice-cold water

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the veggie shortening and butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or two knives in a crisscrossing motion, blend until the butter and shortening mix with the flour and salt to give consistency of wet sand, with a few pea size pieces of butter and shortening remaining. In a separate bowl, using a whisk or fork. beat the egg with the vinegar and water. Blend into the flour mixture  and stir until mixture is moist. The dough should be able to be formed into a ball.  Divide into 2 balls  and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Form into a flat disk and chill for a minimum of half an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350F

When you’re ready, lightly flour a surface to roll out crust.  Remove one disk from fridge and roll out from center to edge, until you have a crust that extends an inch past your pie plate. Transfer the pie crust to your pie plate and carefully press in. If cracks appear during transfer or when in’s in dish, push seams back together with lightly floured fingers. Crimp edges decoratively.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. Transfer to wire rack and leave it to cool.

The filling (truly delish)!:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

3 tbsp. water

1 cup whipping cream

2 cups whole-milk vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups fresh blueberries

In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside for a few minutes while you fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Then cook the gelatin for 3 to 4 minutes until dissolved. Pour the gelatin into a metal bowl filled with 1/4 cup of the whipping cream.

In a separate bowl, stir the yogurt and sugar together. Gently whisk the yogurt mixture into the metal bowl with the gelatin mixture then set the bowl in the ice bath. Brrrr…

Chill, stirring occasionally for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Using a separate bowl and electric mixer, beat the remaining cream into stiff peaks. Gently fold the cream  and 1 3/4 cups of blueberries into the chilled yogurt and gelatin mixture. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust and place the remaining 1/4 cup of blueberries over the filling. Voila! Pie #1! Fifty one to go!!!

I haven’t baked in a while but everything came together nicely and tasted good. The consistency of the pie was also strong. All guests seemed to like the pie and they thought it noble to try a 52 week challenge. Next week, Mudd Pie…