Monday, April 09, 2007

I Had Pie For Breakfast: the Confessional

That, friends, is a slice of home made banana cream pie. Quite possibly the most unphotogenic dessert ever, but so SO delicious.

I think banana cream pie might be in my desserts top three. Right up there with real home made tiramisu, which coming from me is saying a lot because I have a deep and meaningful relationship with tiramisu.

Anyway, I have been craving this pie for WEEKS. So much so that I DIDN'T order any at the restaurant down the road from us where all the desserts are home made just in case it wasn't as good as mine so as not to ruin my whole jones/fix thing. Said restaurant is about the only place I know of where I would ever even consider ordering banana cream pie, and given the quality of the rest of their desserts, I would venture to guess it's fairly good, but I kind of have a bread pudding thing going with that place and I didn't want to tarnish their dessert rep in my mind by going out on a banana cream limb and then having it not be up to my (extremely, really? me?) standards.
And there is no point in even discussing the other 99.9% of banana cream pies that you can go out and buy or get at a "pie" place, because those are just SO not even good. I assume this is because making pastry cream is a little on the labor intensive side what with the stirring and babysitting and all so they probably use some kind of instant, dehydrated add water and watch it come alive kind of mix and who knows what other weirdness for the crust and , that plasticky chemical flavored white guck they try and pass off as whipped cream by calling it "topping". Double eu.
I'll take my pastry cream in all it's silky, egg yolky, full fat milky, stirred constantly over low heat just until it simmers and then cook for one minute longer kind of glory, or I'll have nothing, thanks. And the crust has got to be right, too, or I'm crabby.

Simple ingredients, yes, but it's asking for the impossible with purchased pie.

Oh yea...and don't forget a nice plop of freshly whipped organic heavy cream (aka dairy nirvana) spooned over the top.

We had an invite to a friends house to catch the season premier of The Sopranos last night, so I cranked this baby out in record time in what can only be described as a whirlwind event of pastry because I figured that would allow me to enjoy a slice and not be stuck with seven more pieces that I would then proceed to eat all myself. I even enlisted boy to stir while I showered and primped. He did a smashing job and we went from zero to banana cream with from scratch crust in about two hours and then let it chill in the back of the truck while we drove. Talk about cooking on the fly.

Boy: "is it something I can mess up?"
me: "YES! and whatever you do, don't stop stirring or scraping until I come back, and make sure you are getting into the corners of the pan!"

Nothing like giving a non-cook the touchiest most attention sucking job in the kitchen, huh? Do I need to tell you he got a little panicky and called for me to "come here quick" when it started to thicken up and change consistency?

And the kicker is, he doesn't even like custard.
I torture Boys here.
And dogs. But that's another story.
And he ended up loving the pie, even though he has told me a million times he doesn't like it.
And the pie was better than the premier, but somebody got whacked, so the boys called it good.

So yes, I had banana cream pie for breakfast. Don't tell.
And for the recipe record, I make it according to the Joy of Cooking, using the half butter, half shortening flaky crust recipe and the vanilla pastry cream recipe with the banana cream variation (basically slicing in two or three bananas). And because a good pie, for me, is a lot about the crust/filling ratio, I make double the recipe of pastry cream and put the whole thing in a really deep dish pie plate.
Which basically means you end up eating twice the amount of pie per slice, but damn if it's not worth every single calorie.

I'd like to put in an order for my birthday treatie 6 months in advance please. And thank you.
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