Tuesday, April 7, 2009
TWD: Banana Cream Pie!!! (aka: Gilligan & Skipper, this one's for you!)
So every time I hear Coconut Cream Pie or Banana Cream Pie I think of Gilligan's Island. Though I think the coconut variety is what was mentioned most, when she wasn't convinced she was Ginger, or singing with the Honey Bees, or switching personalities with The Professor in some crazy contraption, or doing a soft shoe dance in a talent show, Mary Ann was always walking around handing out a pie of some sort for the boys.
This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, chosen by Amy of Sing for your Supper, was Banana Cream Pie.
It was almost the pie that never was....I can't believe how close i came to not even trying this...how close I came to never knowing what a knock-out-of-the-park (on baseball opening weekend yet) it was!
To make a 'long story longer' as a friend of mine says,here we go: I was doing so well baking ahead in March, but then April snuck up on me. I was out on Saturday most of the day so when Sunday came around I was out of the house by 8am to do the dreaded grocery shopping, unpacked it all then went back out to make Mass,for a change, for Palm Sunday...ran over to Kohls afterwards to see about any sales in the maternity dept as I find myself with absolutely nothing to wear to work to cover this this baby belly of mine....and then came home and thought the defeatist words, "I guess I can skip this week.." Mind you, I had already bought the heavy cream and the bananas and some extra eggs---and had all the other ingredients, the list was pretty simple this week. I even had purchased ---as a back-up in case my dough did not come out---Pillsbury 'roll out and bake' pie dough. But still, what really was stopping me was the thought that I would make the pie--and either (a) most would go to waste because it's just Dear Husband and I in the house...or (b) I would eat way too much of it BEFORE dumping the rest...
Fast forward (over a quick nap on the couch) to 3:30 Sunday when we get a call from my sweet nephew--inviting us over for dinner....the wheels start turning in my head.....I look at the clock close to 4...and wondered, "can I really do this?" What I realized was the invitation to dinner=seven people (brother, sis-in-law and their 3 kids--hoping they would try it!) to eat the pie-vs-two. It meant I would also be confined to just ONE piece so as not to tip the scales at my monthly check up on Wednesday (more than I will as it is!)
I have no photos of the pie-in-the-making because I was doing it in such a rush. Probably a good thing because it was not a pretty sight. And yes, I cut to the case and DID use that Pillsbury dough/crust!
It was the Battle of '09: Lisa-vs-Time. I won, but not without casualties. The kitchen counter looked like a war zone. Oh the humanity....as the haze of cornstarch and confectioners sugar cleared, into view came the eggshell shrapnel.....the flood---(water everywhere on one counter from the part where I cooled the pan of custard by putting it into a bowl of water which was hastily filled too high) Weapons strewn about in form of whisk, wooden spoon, and about 3 different rubber spatulas...teaspoon measuring spoons...sour cream residue in the tablespoon....3 soulless banana peels left on the field...empty carton of heavy cream...sifter, strainer PLUS an insert from our salad spinner (the brown sugar would NOT strain through anything else--so I picked the colander thingy from the inside of the spinner to do the job...it worked!)...And there, at the end of the counter, the only one left standing besides me--my trusty Yellow Kitchen Aid having gone a round with the whipped cream, still plugged in, whisk attachment still attached over an empty stand as the bowl had long been taken from it...it was the only one left in an upright position as if to say, "That's all you got? Bring it." As I gave her yellow back a pat, I told her she done good...we would live to fight another day. And in the end, a pie sat sitting in the fridge...and by 5:45 we were off to big brother's house with it in hand.
Now, back to actual 'baking' feedback. Based on other P&Q posts on twd site, I had a similar experience with the custard....I thought all was lost as I continually whipped it...and whipped it...waiting for it to boil. It was a bit frothy from the get-go from pouring in the milk--it stirred up some bubbles, not 'boiling' bubbles) It was not boiling, then all of a sudden I saw a thick edge start to form and freaked out thinking it was curdling and I just wasted a chance at my banana cream pie dessert. So I lowered the heat, whisked it more and then this great smooth custard formed. But it never boiled...? I kept it on the heat a bit longer, then threw in the vanilla and let it sit for the 5 minutes...then put it into a bigger pan of water (thus the overflow flood on the counter).
I gave up on the pan as every time I stirred it it would spill out more water. So then figured I'd just fill the sink a bit with cold water, threw ice cubes into it and put the pan in to cool its jets while I whipped up the cream. The whipped cream was not super 'smooth' I think I over whipped it...it was a bit porous..Not sure how to explain it...but it did not look like the nice smooth cream I was hoping for--but still, it tasted right, and at this point I was not hoping to win any 'presentation' awards knowing that I had to fit my 9" crust into a 9.5" pie plate as it was...I missed out on a nicer thicker crust too.
Now as for taste. My brother has three great kids (12, 10 and almost 9)..all of whom were very willing to try this. After dinner was cleared I doled out the pieces to them all...kids got their first, followed by adults. By the time I went to sit down to start eating my piece, I looked across the table and my 2 nephews (the 12 and 8yr old) were already scraping the edge of the forks on their empty plates to get the last bit of whipped cream/custard! That was all I needed to tell me it was going to be a great pie! And indeed it was! Next time I'll do my own crust, but it's the custard that makes this. My sister-in-law picked up on the cinnamon and nutmeg right away. It definitely adds a nice depth to the taste and shows off the bananas well.
I am SO HAPPY I made this, and even happier when I heard Dear Husband say to that he'd love to grab the last piece that was left in my pie plate and take it back home with us because it was one of the best desserts he's had yet! He was still talking about the pie Monday morning as we both got ready for work...saying "who knew a dessert without chocolate could taste THAT good?" Gilligan & Skipper would have loved it!! My kitchen has been put back together, so bring on the amaretto torte next week!
Here is the photo of the aftermath..with Dear Husband's piece he saved for Monday night's NC game. As I 'go to press' (and pre-publish Mon night) he is hoping for a Tar Heels win...we shall see!