Banana Cream Pie with Whole Wheat Chocolate Crust
Sweet, creamy, and banana-packed. Few desserts seem to conjure up home cooking more than a delicious banana cream pie. Layered with a delicious, crumbly crust, sweet, rich custard, and fresh bananas, this pie will have you coming back slice after slice.
I rarely, if ever, bake a recipe as it is out of magazines or from other websites. I always assume I know better and will add my own little touches to inspiring recipes I find. Of course, by the time I’m on step 5, I’ve got a completely different recipe all together – how did I end up with chocolate ice cream when I started with a chocolate chip cookie recipe?
This is the exception. When I came across this Banana Cream Pie (Epicurious’ reprint of Bon Appetit’s 2008 Banana Cream Pie with Whole Grain Chocolate Crust to be specific), I knew I had to try it. Everything looked so good, so perfect, that I didn’t even bother changing a single thing. Why am I blogging it? Because it’s delicious. And you should try it. Seriously.
Ok. Actually I lied. I changed a lot. I told you; I can’t help it. So, here is my take on their – what I assume was delicious – banana cream pie. What did I change exactly? Well, I used more whole wheat in the crust, added more chocolate, and threw in some orange zest into the vanilla custard. I think it creates a wonderfully delicious pie with layers of flavor and texture.
Banana Cream Pies are supposed to be easy. At least my mother’s was – banana pudding in a store bought crust with bananas thrown on top. This is, well, as everything I make, from-scratch. With the custard filling, cornstarch is used, so you can be a little careless with the cooking – the eggs won’t cook when it comes to a boil. Just don’t cook it too long as cornstarch begins to breakdown after extended boiling – at about 30 seconds to a minute or more. As for the crust, give it plenty of time to chill in the fridge, otherwise it will be like trying to roll out a puddle of custard.
Blind baking is when you bake a crust without the filling in it. To keep the crust from falling in on itself, you need to substitute the filling with pie weights. This can be as easy as lining the dough with parchment paper, and then filling the center with dried pinto beans – they’re a lot cheaper than pie weights. Bake until the visible edge of the crust beings to harden. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper (carefully and slowly, or you might remove the dough too), poke a few holes in the bottom of the dough, and bake again until the dough has hardened everywhere.
- 1 quart vanilla orange custard, recipe below
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces butter, chopped
- 2 tablespoons water
- 6 bananas, peeled
- Prepare the custard filling according to the instructions and store in the fridge until it is firm.
- Add the flours, chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the chocolate is finely ground.
- Add the chopped butter to the food processor and pulse a few times until the butter is broken up into very small chunks - the mixture should resemble a very coarse cornmeal.
- While pulsing, slowly add the water until a dough begins to form. Turn the machine off and remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough in on itself a few times until it holds it's shape. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ⅛" thick, or large enough to line a shallow 9" pie dish. Move the dough to the pie dish, and push it into the corners. Cut the excess dough from the edges.
- Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are crisp. Remove the beans and paper, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the center of the dough is crisp.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Once cool, spread a cup of the filling over the crust. Slice enough bananas thinly to cover the custard. Pour the remaining custard over the bananas. Top with more sliced bananas, cut on a bias to create large slices. Sprinkle sugar over the bananas. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar until it turns golden brown and hardens. Serve immediately.
- 3 cups milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 4 egg yolks
- Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pot. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod into the milk. Add the pod and heat to the scalding point over medium heat.
- In the meantime, mix together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, and orange zest in a bowl. Add the egg yolks and whisk until evenly blended.
- Once the milk is scaled, slowly pour ⅓ of it into the egg mixture while whisking. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the pot with the remaining milk and place back over the heat.
- Cook the custard, stirring constantly, until it thickens and begins to boil. Cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla bean pod. Let cool to room temperature before chilling for 4 hours or until set.
What’s your favorite way to make a banana cream pie? Share your recipes with us in the comments!