Friday, August 3, 2012

Recipe #3: Mini banana cream pies. Oh yeah, and I got a job and stuff.

   That's right. I got a job. I'm excited. Because I'm awesome. The job is at my school book store, so I don't have to worry about travelling to get to work. I go in before and after class and call it cool. I can ride the bus. It's just a generally good thing. I start next week.
   Brandon is pretty stoked too, because he can call off the job hunt now that I have one. The deal was, whoever got one first would work and the other would take care of Cooper. Daycare is just WAY too expensive. He's also happy because now that I'm working I can get us back on some assistance. We're sick to death of going hungry so Cooper can eat, and that happens all to frequently. Now I know we don't have to worry about making that awful, edge of our seat stretch at the end of every school cycle when financial aid isn't coming in.
   I think we're going to need to celebrate. Sadly, Brandon doesn't like sweets much. I secretly think he's not really human. What type of person likes whole raw onions, I mean nasty yellow onions, not the green ones that are awesome in food, but that I STILL wouldn't eat by themselves, better than cupcakes? Apparently my love, and now also my son. They sit on the couch happy as clams dipping slices of whole onion in Caesar dressing the same way normal people eat apples and caramel. It's disturbing.
   Thankfully there are a few desserts that both of my boys love, that I can certainly support having in the house. For my boys, it's anything banana. Brandon loves cinnamon eclaires with whipped banana pudding in the middle and dark chocolate ganache. Cooper just loves bananas. Side note, writing bananas this much, I've noticed I simply can't spell the word bananas without quoting in my head the lyrics to a certain Gwen Stefani song from years back. Before the song I could, but now it's weaseled into my brain and I always have to spell bananas using that song. Weird.
   My Brandon LOVES banana cream pie. Every time we have it he runs around dramatically shouting, "One banana cream pie!" My Brandon also loves old Bugs Bunny cartoons, so that reference happens with such frequency that for a while I actually avoided buying or making banana cream pie so I wouldn't hear it 50 times over 2 days. It's ridiculous. But I suppose it's part of why I love my funny man.
   I get so sick of vanilla pudding with banana bits mixed in being called banana cream pie. It just doesn't seem right. Banana should be THE focus of the pie. Vanilla is great, but for heaven's sake, the dessert is called BANANA cream pie, not hint-of-banana cream pie. I want to be punched in the face with banana deliciousness. That said, here is MY idea of perfect banana cream pie. It requires a little more work than whipping up a Nilla wafer crust and mixing some bananas into vanilla instant pudding, and for that, I'm sorry. Trust me though, like everything else I've posted, it's WORTH IT.
Mini Banana Cream Pies
  1. 2 large, very ripe bananas
  2. 2 T butter
  3. 2 T brown sugar
  4. 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  5. 3/4 cup sour cream
  6. 2 beaten eggs combined with 1 T cornstarch
  7. 3/4 cup sugar
  8. 1 vanilla bean
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare mini tart pans with butter crust recipe of choice. Set in fridge to chill.

Heat a skillet or pan and add butter. The pan is hot enough when the butter foams and sizzles. Thinly slice the bananas and place slices in a single layer on the pan along with brown sugar. Cook on each side until deep golden caramel color, with a sweet, smooth syrup. Separate syrup from bananas and set aside to cool.

Scrape the vanilla bean and add seeds and pulp to the cream, sour cream, eggs and sugar in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until sugar in incorporated, and then add the bananas, mixing until creamy, with the bananas broken down into very small pieces.

Pour into prepared butter pie crusts and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and slightly jiggly. Then chill for a couple of hours. This stuff is no good hot.

Top with rum whipped cream and drizzle with the banana syrup.

Rum whipped cream
  1. 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  2. 5 T sugar
  3. 1 T dark rum
  4. 2 t vanilla or half a vanilla bean, scraped
Whip cream until fluffy, then add sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Add rum and vanilla and whip to stiff peaks.

   If you're worried about the rum, don't put it in the whipped cream. I like to booze up my desserts from time to time. It adds a nice flavor that balances out the banana. These are slightly reminiscent of Brandon's favorite flavor, bananas foster. I've had to translate that to cake, cheesecake, eclairs... he asks for it all the time. Also, sometimes I add toasted sliced almonds to the top. I like the crunch. Texture is the magic that makes for superb food, rather than good.
   That's it for this post. I was a day late, but I think it was worth the wait. Enjoy it!

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