Banana Cream Pie

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There are two types of Sundays. The first kind, I know all too well. The Sunday I dread. The one where despite all efforts, I find myself completely incapable of productivity and Monday looms in the distance making it all the more difficult to enjoy the end of the much needed weekend. It’s that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that I only know as Sunday.

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The other kind of Sunday is much more rare, but so beloved. Today is one such day. The dogs lounge in the shade outside to escape the sun beating down far too hot for a day in February (I love California).  I find myself in the kitchen shaping and rolling dough. Using my fingers to slightly ruffle the edges of my pie crust. Billie Holiday is playing and the time in between pie prep feels like sweet meditation. My mind is clear and the moment feels blissful. It’s the kind of Sunday my parents have perfected.  It seems like every weekend I visit them, we have a perfect Sunday.  Tea and biscotti in the morning.  Yard work, quilting, and lemonade in the afternoon.  It’s these kinds of days that help to keep me sane through the week.

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RECIPE (adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café):

Pie Crust:

– 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 1 T granulated sugar

– 3 T vegetable shortening, chilled

– 5 T butter, chilled and cubed

– 4-6 T ice water

– 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Banana Cream Filling:

– 1/2 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar

– 1/4 cup corn starch

– 1/8 tsp salt

– 1/2 cup cream

– 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

– 2 cups milk

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 2 T butter

– 2 bananas

Whipped Cream Topping:

– 1 cup heavy cream

– 2 T powdered sugar

– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Crust:

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor.  Add vegetable shortening and pulse.  Add butter and pulse until resembles coarse crumbs.  Pour into a medium sized bowl.  Add 4 T of water and stir ingredients until dough sticks together.  Add up to 2 more T’s of ice water if dough isn’t sticking together.  Form dough into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap for 30 mins.  Allow dough to soften for 10 mins before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Sprinkle work space with graham cracker crumbs.  Place dough on crumbs.  Sprinkle more crumbs on top of dough.  Roll out into a large circle.  Roll dough gently onto rolling pin and place on top of 9 inch pie pan.  Trim crust excess so that there are a couple inches hanging off. Form crust to pan and crimp edges, so they look pretty.  Refrigerate dough for 30 mins.

Line the chilled dough with a double layer of aluminum foil and some kind of pie weights (I used rice).  Bake 20-25 mins until firm.  Remove foil and weight and bake for an additional 5-10 mins until crust is golden brown.  Allow to cool.

Filling:

Heat milk to a boil in a small sauce pan.  In a separate large sauce pan whisk together sugar, corn starch, salt, cream, and egg yolks.  Pour about 1/4 hot milk to the large sauce pan stirring continuously (otherwise you’ll end up with cooked egg).  After a minute or so, add the rest of the milk and put the large sauce pan on the stove on medium high heat, continuing to stir.  Once mixture comes to a boil, it will thicken very quickly.  Once thick, take off the heat.  Pour pudding like mixture through a sieve into a new bowl to get out any chunks.  Add vanilla and stir to combine.  Add butter and stir until completely melted.

Pour half the filling into pie crust.  Slice banana thinly and layer on custard.  Pour in the rest of the filling on top.  Place plastic wrap directly on top of pie and refrigerate for 3-6 hours.

Topping:

Whip together cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Spread over the top of chilled pie.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Garnish with chocolate if you like!)

Enjoy 🙂

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