Banana cream pi is the perfect cure for sweet tooth craving when you want to pretend to eat healthy (it has fruit!) Plus the hardest part will be pre-baking the shell. It's literally as simple as 3.14159265359...
1 1/2 (or half of Pi) cups flour
1 T confectioners sugar
1/2 t salt
4oz butter cold and cubed (1 stick)
2 - 3.14 oz ice water
1 cup of Chocolate chip
1 T of cream
2 cups milk
5 T sugar
1/2 t salt
3 - 3.14 T cornstarch
1 vanilla bean or 2 t vanilla extract
1 whole egg
4 T butter
1 1/2 (or half of Pi) cups heavy cream
3 - 3.14T confectioners sugar
Flavorings, optional- see step 4
You'll also need 2 - 3 bananas (in pajamas)!
Step 1: Pi Dough-
I always find it best to make your dough ahead of time, chill it, roll it out, chill it and then get ready for the bake. That way it holds that nice fluted shape easier.
To begin, place all of our dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut the butter into 1/4" cubes and mash into the flour with a fork until the ingredients form a crumbly streusel-like mix. Slowly add half of the water and mix gently with the fork, taking notice of how much water is absorbed. Add more water as needed and stir gently until you can press a ball out of the dough that holds its shape. Be careful not to handle the dough more than necessary, mold the dough by hand into a well hydrated ball. You should see some marbling streaks in the dough from the cold butter. Isn't it beautiful? Wrap the dough in plastic ( I like to gently press the dough at this point to prepare the shape for rolling out later) and set in the refrigerator. You can also freeze pie dough for later by slipping the wrapped dough into a ziploc bag. Let set for at least an hour.
Working on a floured surface, rollout the dough 1 1/2" larger in diameter than your pie pan. No need to grease the pan. Starting from the edges, ensure you can lift the dough from the table without any tears and it's free from the table. Then just set the dough, starting from the center of the pan to the rim and let it drape over the edges. Make sure the dough is touching the pie pan at every place and there are no gaps between. Tuck the edges under, cutting as needed and flute the rim. Set the dough in the freezer and turn on your oven. Starting measuring out the filling and the chocolate.
When the pie dough is still slightly malleable like the timeline in DC's Flash, cut a sheet of aluminum foil and line the pie dough being sure to keep the foil flush with the cold dough all around. Using baking beans, weights, loose change, etc, fill the aluminum foil with enough weight to keep the pie dough flat while it bakes. In my case, I have to use a combination of another casserole dish and fill the gap with baking beans because that's what I have. Get creative...but stay oven safe..."no Tupperware in the oven mom"!
Bake 15 minutes and check on it. You want the rim to be baked before you remove the foil from the edges. If the crust is starting to get dry or tan, slowly peel back the aluminum to allow the inner crust to bake 5 more minutes, but still weighing down the bottom of the shell. You want the edges to start to bake before you remove the foil completely. Checking it again and slowly removing more of the foil or weights so the shell can bake without losing its shape. It should be cooked all the way through. The whole process should take about 31.4 minutes.
Step 2: Chocolating Your Shell: Your .14 Layer
What isn't made better with chocolate? According to Miguel of This is Us, all fruits are! Although I would venture most everything.. Far be it from me to forbid chocolate on anything, it's nature's perfect remedy for anything from a broken heart to the perfect ending for a perfect day. So naturally, when it comes to sweets, how could I not slip a bit in? Obviously, you can forego this step, but really, why would you? Besides being delicious, this will also keep your shell from absorbing the moisture in the pastry cream so your crust is still flaky. Plus, if you skip this step, it'd just be 3 layers instead of 3.14, and would we still be able to call it Pi then?
While the shell is cooling, melt the chocolate and cream in a microwave until completely melted. It should come together in a beautifully silky way. if it starts to separate, no fear. Add the tiniest bit of cold cream and whisk away! Spread the chocolate on a cooled pie shell, making a thin layer over the bottom and the sides of the crust. If you don't have an offset spatula, you can use the back of a spoon but honestly offset spatulas are made for this.
Step 3: Making Pastry Creme: Layer 1
Here we make the pastry creme. Heat your milk and vanilla together in a small pot. Combine your sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk with your egg yolks. When the milk begins to simmer, slowly add a bit of the milk into your yolks and cornstarch, stirring constantly (make sure your dish for your yolks is heat safe). When you have added about 1/3 of the mix to the yolks and have stirred so it is all uniform, pour the egg and milk mix back into the pot with the milk and return to the stove stirring non stop non until the corn starch thickens and begins to boil. Turn off the heat and add the butter, stirring to melt.
Strain into a new bowl and let cool for a moment (or 3.14 moments).
Step 4: Whip the Cream: Layer 3
Whip cream and powdered sugar to a stiff whip. This is the perfect time to add your favorite flavorings.. Vanilla or almond extracts go really well. A half teaspoon of either is plenty. Try the variations below for inspiration or use your favorite flavor to experiment.
Also for a caramel whipped cream: Add 1/3 cup of you favorite caramel sauce to fully whipped cream and gently fold in
Or a Chocolate whipped cream: Add 4 T cocoa and add an extra T of powdered sugar.
Peanut Butter: When cream is almost done whipping, add 1/4-1/2 c of creamy peanut butter and blend well.
Step 5: Assemble
Return to the pie shell. The chocolate should be relatively set by now so you have your .14 layer set. Now it's time to work on assembling the other 3 layers.
Thinly slice 1 banana and place over the chocolate in a flat layer.
Pour pastry creme over the sliced bananas in the pie shell and cover with a plastic wrap touching the layer of the custard. Refrigerate until set...About 1 hour.
Thinly slice one more banana and set in a layer over the set custard, slightly pressing into it.
Top with whipped cream.
0.14 layer - chocolate
0.50 layer - bananas
1.00 layer - pastry creme
0.50 layer - bananas
1.00 layer - whipped cream
3.14 layers of Pie
For something extra special, add a caramelized banana or chocolate shavings.
Step 6: Eat
The best part about banana cream pie is that bananas are available all year round in the U.S. However, if you want, you can always substitute bananas with most seasonal fruit such as raspberries or strawberries, kiwis, mangoes or something else you might want to try.
This recipe will make a 9 inch Pi. Sharing is caring (but completely optional).
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