Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie


Hey there–  Found this recipe that makes good old banana cream pie even better!  Add in rich dark chocolate and amber rum.  How’s that?  Took it to a friend’s house for dinner.  So I’m sad to say I only got to eat one piece. Creamy, rich, with that happy cooperation of banana and chocolate and the crumbling shortbread crust.  Oh mama!  I’ll have to find a reason to make another one again soon…

10 oz. shortbread cookies*
5 oz. butter melted
2 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate, cut into bits
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
2 tab. butter, cut into smallish pieces
2 tab. amber rum
1 tsp. vanilla
2 bananas
1 cup whipping cream**
1 tsp. vanilla instant pudding
1 tab. powdered sugar
chocolate shavings

IMG_2456Smash the shortbread cookies to crumbs (in a food processor or just just squished in a plastic bag with a rolling pin).  Mix the crumbs together with the 5 oz. of melted butter and press them into a 9 or 10″ pie pan.  Stick this in the freezer to set while you make the custard.

Put the dark chocolate bits in a heat proof bowl and set aside.  To make the custard, put the milk, sugar, corn starch and egg yolks into a pan.  Stir it up with a whisk continually over medium high heat until it thickens, 4 or 5 minutes.  (Beware–do not overcooks this or you’ll have an eggy mess.  Trust me, I know how that goes!)

Then scoop 1/2 cup of the custard into the bowl with the chocolate.  Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tab. of the cream and stir it up.  Spread it over the cold crust and pop it into the fridge (not freezer)

To the remaining custard, stir in 2 tab. butter and rum.  Stir it up and put it in the fridge for an hour– stirring occasionally.

IMG_2446To put it all together.  Beat the remaining whipping cream with the pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Slice the bananas in cute little circles evenly over the chocolate in the crust.  Layer on the custard. The spoon the whipped cream over the top. Stick it in the fridge for 20 or 30 minutes to set up.  Garnish with chocolate shavings just before you serve it to hungry, happy  friends.

*I used pecan sandies for the crust
**If you keep the whipping cream cold and stick your beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before you beat the cream, it will set up easier.


Apple Pecan Tart

IMG_7838Hi there–  I have to admit I’ve made some terrible pie crusts over the last few years.  I grew up eating tender, flakey crusts laced with Crisco.  So trying to be a bit more healthy, making a crust that is Crisco-less, using butter, things ended up pretty thick and tough and tasteless.  Until now…

Over Thanksgiving week in SF, we popped into Chef Aaron’s pie making demonstration at the William-Sonoma store on Union Square.  He is enormously entertaining and a darn clever cook.  He passed out loads of good pie tips as he put together pies and popped them in the oven so we could sample hot and delicious.  I used his crust recipe for this apple pecan tart last week and it was just lovely.  I think you should try it…

1 1/4 cup flour
1 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, but in smaller chunks
4 or 5 tab. ice water

Mix the flour, sugar and salt.  With a pastry blender or food processor cut in the butter until all the buttery pieces are the size of little peas.  Then stir in the icy cold water. It will seem like the dough is still a bit crumbly. You will want to keep adding water, but stop! If you add more water to make it solid, the crust will be tough.  Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it up–and refrigerate it for at least one hour (up to overnight).  The idea is that the butter should stay cold so that it doesn’t melt into the flour, but stays in tiny bits for a flaky crust.

After it’s chilled, roll out the dough on a floured piece of waxed paper.  When it is the size of your tart pan (pie pan) lift it carefully into the pan and trim off all the extra around the edges of the pan.

Apple Filling:
5 or 6 apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
dash salt

Peel and core the apples, cut them into slices until you have about 6 cups of apples.  Then stir in the sugar flour, spice and salt.  Turn it all into the prepared crust.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix the flour and brown sugar.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or food processor until the butter is in tiny bits.  Then stir in the pecans.  Spoon this all over the apples in the pie crust.

Bake it all up at 375 degrees or 35- 40 minutes, until the crumbly top is browned and the apples feel tender it you poke it with a fork.

18211_10151151631294135_1804687795_nI don’t think I have to tell you it’s best served with ice cream and caramel sauce while it’s warm from the oven.  Crumbly, nutty, apple-y. It’s the most comforting comfort food around.

P.S. – The photo is Aaron the most inspirational cooking teacher around, with a young apprentice.