January 20, 2012

Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Crumb Crust

Here is another recipe from the Momfuku Milk Bar cookbook: a luscious, intense banana custard in a bittersweet chocolate crumb crust. It's the first banana cream pie I've ever made.

The easy part is that this pie doesn't need to be baked. The slightly difficult part is that it takes several steps to complete: making the crumb for the crust, mixing the actual crust, mixing & cooking the banana custard, whipping cream to fold into the cooled custard, THEN assembling the pie. But it was worth it.

Next time, I would make individual parfaits by layering the cooled chocolate crumbs with the banana filling & sliced bananas in small ramekins, topping each off with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Crumb Crust
slightly adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar

The original recipe calls for yellow food coloring. I thought this made the filling too yellow. So, I omitted it here. If you dislike the pale color of the filling, go ahead and add about 25 drops of yellow coloring to the filling after you blend in the gelatin & butter.

makes a 10-inch pie
For the crust:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup good-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until mixed. Add the butter and mix on low until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
  • Spread the crumbs on a parchment or silicone mat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Let the crumbs cool completely before using.
  • Break up the chocolate crumbs into a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons sugar & 1 tablespoon melted butter. With your hands, knead until it is moist enough to form a ball. Add another tablespoon of melted butter, if needed. Press the crust firmly into a the pie plate, making sure the bottom & sides are evenly covered.

For the filling:
2 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks

2 gelatin sheets (or 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin)

3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar

1 just-ripe banana, sliced

  • Combine the ripe bananas, cream, and milk in a blender & puree until totally smooth.
  • Add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, & egg yolks and blend. Pour into a medium saucepan. Clean out the blender.
  • Bloom the gelatin (see note below). 
  •  Whisk the contents of the pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil and continue to whisk vigorously for 2 minutes. It will be very thick.
  • Pour the custard back into the blender. Add the bloomed gelatin & butter and blend until smooth and even. Transfer to a container & chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until completely cool. 
  •  Whip the cream and powdered sugar to soft peaks. Add the cold banana custard to the whipped cream & slowly whisk to combine.
  • Pour half the banana filling into the pie shell. Cover with a layer of sliced banana & the remaining filling. Chill in refrigerator until set.
  • Top with chocolate shavings, if desired, before serving.  You may need to dip the pie plate into a shallow dish or sink of hot water in order to easily cut through the crust.

This is best eaten within a day of when you make it.

NOTE: To bloom sheet gelatin, soak it in a small bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Gently squeeze to remove any excess water before using.

To bloom powdered gelatin, sprinkle it evenly onto the surface of 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small dish or cup. Allow to soften for 3-5 minutes.

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