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The Most Important Constant

15 March 2009

How did you celebrate the day yesterday? I hope you did something fun and delicious!

What do you mean, what was there to celebrate yesterday?

Surely you didn’t forget. Or — even worse — not even realize what day it was. Who would not remember that yesterday was Pi Day! March 14: 3.14. If you are a stickler, then you could have celebrated at 1:59 (a.m. or p.m., wouldn’t matter).

I celebrated by making a pie (of course) — one that I had never made before: a banana cream pie. The girls celebrated by eating my pie for dessert last night.

1. First, roll out your dough. Our favorite pastry dough recipe makes two crusts.

2. I roll the dough out between two pieces of wax paper. This prevents profanity due to dough sticking to the counter or the rolling pin.

3. It also makes it super easy to transfer to the pie pan.

4. When the crust is ready, stick it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This ensures a nice, light, flaky finished product. (We use 50% butter, for flavor, and 50% shortening, for flakiness.)

5. Completely bake the crust. Keep it from bubbling up by filling it with dried beans for the first bit of baking, then remove the beans to get the entire crust nicely golden.

6. While the crust is baking, make a stiff vanilla custard (adding cornstarch does the trick).

7. Both the crust and the custard need to cool to room temperature. Go off and do something else for a while. When cool, slice up 3 medium bananas.

8. Make a layer of banana slices, then cover with the second third of custard. … What?! Reread recipe and realize that there should have been a layer of custard before the bananas. Say “To hell with it” and just Make Do with bananas on the bottom and two layers of custard, rather than three.

9. Make a second layer of bananas, which you will then cover with the rest of the custard.

10. When it is completely assembled, cover the pie and chill until you are ready to eat.

11. That second crust you made? (See steps 1 and 4). After it is frozen, double-wrap it in plastic and return to the freezer for another pie on another day.

12. At dessert time, whip up some sweetened heavy cream, and place a dollop on each person’s serving.
(ugly picture, lovely taste!)

Now, don’t go forgetting for next year!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 March 2009 1:32 pm

    Oh My God. You are a frickin’ genius.
    I have to make some pastry now, just to try out your tip about the paper so the pastry doesn’t stick.

    I don’t like bananas on their own, but love ’em mashed in porridge or in banana muffins. How strong is the banana-y-ness? I do believe the pie looks very nice but am a bit scared in case the banana texture is too strong (it’s the texture that makes me not like them, not the flavour).

  2. 16 March 2009 2:06 am

    That looks yummy.

    Question: After you bake the beans, can you use them?

  3. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    16 March 2009 4:38 pm

    Hey, B, I paid attention when I had some leftover pie last night, and I don’t think it’s too banana-y — since they are covered in custard, you don’t really feel the slipperiness of sliced bananas. OTOH, maybe you could mash the bananas rather than slice them? Or mix the mashed banana into the custard? Or, you can make it as a coconut cream pie and skip the bananas all together. In fact, I have been thinking about coconut cream pie (another pie I have never made) — wouldn’t it be delicious to use coconut milk in the custard? And toast the coconut flakes? Mmmmmmm.

    Kathy: The Consort thinks yes. I think no. We usually use a collection of agates that we collected from the beach and polished, but I can’t find them right now, so I used white beans instead.

  4. 17 March 2009 2:21 am

    I won’t have a chance to experiment for a while, but I’ll report back 🙂

  5. Cateling permalink
    23 March 2009 2:00 pm

    Mmmm, banana cream pie. My mom used to make this one a lot when we were growing up. (My mom makes wonderful pie crust.) I’m surprised to hear that you had not made one before!

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