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Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients:

For the pastry shell:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable shortening
  • 3 Tbs. ice water

For the banana cream filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. European bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 small ripe yet firm bananas
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • Dried banana chips and fresh berries (optional)

Directions:

To make the pastry shell, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center. Cut the butter and shortening into pieces, add to the well, and rub together with your fingertips to form large, flat pieces. Sprinkle on the water and mix with a fork until the mixture just holds together. Gather into a rough ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat an oven to 375°F. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan or tart pan with a removable bottom and press in gently. Trim the edges even with the pan rim and, if using a pie pan, flute decoratively. Prick the bottom and the sides with a fork. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Line the pastry with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue to bake until lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

To make the filling, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar and salt. Whisk in the cornstarch. Heat the milk almost to a boil. Whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture and return to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and 1 tsp. of the vanilla. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the custard; let cool.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate and 1/4 cup of the cream. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally. Pour into the prebaked pastry shell; refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Cut the bananas crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place in a bowl and toss with the orange juice. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Stir into the vanilla custard, then pour into the pastry shell and smooth the top.

In a bowl, beat the remaining 2 cups cream with the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla until almost stiff. Decoratively top the pie with the cream. Sprinkle with banana chips and berries, using. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Spring, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).