Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate and Cinnamon

This was a fun recipe to make.  I was flipping through my Sur La Table cookbook, The Art and Soul of Baking, looking for a fruit based recipe that I could make with a seasonal fruit that wasn’t strawberries.  I found this Pie and I knew I had a winner.  We had a few bananas that I had bought a few days before so they were perfectly ripe, and it looked like something that we would enjoy on a warm day.  I told Rocker Dude what I wanted to make, and his reply was , “It’s a good thing that we will be having guests over.” Hmmph!

The greatest part of this recipe is that it can all be made in advance and assembled later.  It really saved me a lot of time.  The Little Rocker wasn’t feeling well, so this gave me time to take care of her and make something cool.

It happens to everyone.

This recipe started with a broken egg.  I took out eggs to get to room temperature before I started baking, and of course, one got loose and ended up on the floor.  Little Rocker looked on in delight.  Of course she was happy, I had asked Rocker Dude to buy non-dairy oreos (a knockoff brand) and of course they both dipped into the stash.  Cookies and messes!  Wow!!

The crust for this pie was the easiest thing in the world to make.  I ground up the cookies in the food processor and poured the melted margarine on top and pressed into the pie dish.  Because they dipped into my cookie supply, though, I was short come cookies, so I could only cover the bottom of the pie dish.   Don’t worry, I made sure that Rocker Dude heard about it.

When the crust was cool, I made the ganache and spread it over the crust.  The ganache keeps the crust from absorbing too much moisture from the cream and keeps it crispy.

Ganache on a Crust

That went into the fridge while I made the pastry cream.  Cinnamon pastry cream?  Oh yum!  Pastry cream is really simple to make, though I did come across a general type for all pastry cream making.  When you mix the egg yolks with the sugar, make sure to do it only right before you are going to use it.  If you let it sit too long, then the sugar breaks up the egg and apparently you can’t salvage it.

Pastry Cream before it Thickens
Cinnamon Pastry Cream

Once the cream cooled (I had it in the fridge for a few hours), I sliced up the bananas thinly and mixed them into the cream.  If you mix the bananas in right away, then they won’t turn brown because all the surface area is covered.

Banana Pastry Cream

Put that pie right back in the refrigerator and whip the topping up.  As soon as it holds its peaks, spread it over the surface of the pie.  If you want, you can put it in a pastry bag with a star tip and decorate the pie.  I didn’t have the energy to put into making a fancy topping, so I just made a smooth layer of cream.

Finished Pie

You are then supposed to refrigerate the pie for another 30 minutes before serving.   Mine was in for about 3 hours – tasted great.  Look at that yumminess:

Yumminess

When Rocker Dude tasted it (and he only had a small bite at first), he said  that it reminded him of a treat he had eaten in France many years ago.  It’s basically a banana shaped cookie, half a banana and chocolate on top.  Finally!  Something banana-ey that he likes!  And he thought he wouldn’t like it – so there!!

Recipe:

Crust:

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

Cinnamon Pastry Cream:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

6 tbsp. sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter

1 1/2 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

1 tbsp. plus 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

3 large ripe bananas (not overripe)

1 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix the melted butter with the cookie crumbs until the crumbs are all moistened.  Press the crumbs into a 9 inch pie pan.  Press the cookies as far up the side as they go.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Heat until the milk begins to simmer.  Remove from heat.  In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolks and sugar until well-blended and smooth. Add the flour and whisk vigorously.  Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  Slowly pour the yolk mixture into the rest of the milk, constantly whisking.  Heat the mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the flour from lumping until it reaches a boil.  Continue to cook and whisk for another minute until the pastry cream is very thick.  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and the cinnamon.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent it from forming a skin and refrigerate until completely cool.

Place the chocolate and 1 tbsp. of cream into the microwave and heat on high for one minute.  Stir to blend.  If there are any lumps, heat for another 15 seconds and stir again.  Pour the chocolate onto the cooled pie shell and smooth a thin, even layer over the bottom of the crust.  Chill for 10 minutes to set the ganache.

Cut the bananas into 1/4 inch thick slices and gently stir them into the chilled pastry cream.  Scrape the filling into the prepared pie crust and spread evenly to the edge.  Chill while you make the topping.

Whip the 1 1/4 cups cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form.  Spread the topping onto the banana cream evenly.  Or you can use a pastry bag with a star tip to decoratively pipe the topping, but keep in mind that you might need about 1/2 cup more cream.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

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