YIELD: 8 servings    PREP: 3 hours    COOK: 15 minutes    TOTAL: 8 hours

A classic banana cream pie with a twist – the pastry cream is infused with bananas!

INGREDIENTS:

For the Crust:

1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1¼ slices
¼ cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, cold
2 tablespoons cold water

For the Filling:

5 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2½ cups half-and-half
½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange juice

For the Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Make the Crust: Process ¾ cups of the flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until the dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the processor blade. Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Turn the mixture out into a medium bowl. Sprinkle vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Wrap the dough-lined plate loosely in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Tuck overhanging dough until itself along the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the dough, wrap loosely in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Line the chilled pie shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is pale in color, about 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights and continue to bake the crust until deep golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

Make the Filling: Peel and slice 2 bananas ½-inch thick. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced bananas and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the half-and-half, bring to a boil, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 40 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and salt, then whisk in the cornstarch. Strain the cooled half-and-half mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the sugar mixture (do not press on the bananas); whisk until incorporated. (You can discard the bananas.)

Transfer the mixture to a clean medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened to the consistency of warm pudding and registers 180 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl, press plastic wrap against the surface, and let cool for 1 hour.

Peel and slice the remaining 3 bananas ¼-inch thick and toss in a small bowl with the orange juice. Whisk the pastry cream briefly, then spread half of it over the bottom of the crust. Arrange the sliced bananas on the pastry cream, then top with the remaining pastry cream.

Make the Whipped Cream: Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie. Refrigerate until set, at least 5 hours or up to 24 hours.

Enjoy!

# #

March 27, 2017