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Banana Cream Pie with Banana Crust and Caramel Drizzles

Emeril Lagasse says there are three secrets to this pie -- the bananas in the crust, the old-fashioned pastry cream, and the whole vanilla bean. Lagasse suggests a 9-inch pie pan, but I made it in a 10-inch pie pan. It's not only a big pie; it's also very rich, and it could easily serve 10 people.

1 Banana Pie Crust (recipe follows)
3 cups heavy cream, in all
1 small vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
4 ripe bananas
3/4 cup Caramel
Drizzle Sauce (recipe follows)
2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons sugar
Shaved chocolate

Prepare the Banana Pie Crust, and allow it to cool completely.

Heat 2 cups of the cream in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in the paste scraped from inside the vanilla bean, and the butter, and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup cream with the cornstarch and stir until thoroughly blended and smooth. When the mixture in the saucepan begins to boil, stream in the cream/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly until all is thoroughly incorporated. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine the sugar and salt, and whisk this dry mixture vigorously into the saucepan until the cream is thick and the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Over low heat, whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Remove from the heat and whisk the pastry cream until smooth and creamy.

Peel the bananas and cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Spread about 1/3 of the pastry cream in the pie crust, and arrange 1/2 of the banana slices over the cream. Spread on another 1/3 of the pastry cream, and arrange the remaining banana slices over that. Cover with the remaining pastry cream, and smooth out the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.

About 20 minutes before serving, prepare the Caramel Drizzle Sauce.

To serve, cut the pie into wedges and drizzle on the warm Caramel Drizzle Sauce. Top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Serves about 10.

Banana Pie Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 very ripe banana, mashed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, cream the ingredients together with your hands. Press the mixture into a 10-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely before filling. Makes one 10-inch pie crust.

Caramel Drizzle Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water, and bring it to a boil, stirring often. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is a deep nutty-brown color and the consistency of thin syrup, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Stir in the cream, turn the heat back on to high, and boil the sauce for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Use immediately. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Sunday, July 09, 2000



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