I grabbed my copy of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel* and, while Jake stayed in the house, I took the boys to the pool and breezed through the second half of the book. I had just started it in the morning.
On the Page...
Bananas are not my favorite fruit, but I'm always interested to learn more about a food's history and biology. After reading this book, I know more about the banana than I ever imagined knowing. Who knew how politically charged the banana industry was?!?
A few fun facts that I just learned: the banana tree is actually the world's largest herb; most of us eat just one kind of banana, the Cavendish (hence the title of this recipe!); there is a banana in the Philippines that tastes like crème brûlée; banana cultivation and trade has had a significant impact on world history. I learned all of this and more in this well-written, quick read. There was also an interesting discussion about GMOs.
On the Plate...
When I asked my trio what I should make that used bananas, I can't remember who suggested it, but the other two were quick to agree: yes, banana cream pie!! So, I made my gluten-free crust and the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf found a recipe on the Food Network that we adapted to fit what we had.
Ingredients makes one 9" pie
- 1-1/4 C gluten-free flour
- 1-1/2 t organic granulated sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 C butter (1 stick), cubed
- cold water
Banana Cream Filling
- 4 C whole milk
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 t pure vanilla extract
- 12 egg yolks
- 1 C organic granulated sugar
- 1/2 C cornstarch
- 3 T butter, cold and cubed
- 3 ripe bananas, sliced into coins
- whipped cream, for serving (if desired)
In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter cubes and pulse until chunks the size of small peas form. Pour in 1/4 cup of cold water and pulse, again, till the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and knead 2 to 3 times. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, approximately 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, then transfer to a 9-inch pie plate.
Prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool.
Banana Cream Filling
Combine the milk, salt, and vanilla in pot and heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, turn off the heat and stir the mixture for one minute. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale yellow, then whisk in the cornstarch until moistened and smooth. Gradually whisk in half of the hot milk mixture.
Pour the yolk-milk mixture back into the pot and cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture boils and begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, approximately another 5 minutes. The mixture should become very thick, like a set custard. When cooked, turn off the heat.
Stir in the butter until it melts completely and fold in the bananas.
Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Gently push the banana slices below the surface to prevent them from browning. Cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing the plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 7 hours or overnight, and serve with whipped cream.
*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.
Here's what everyone else read in March 2017: here.