• Banana Cream Pie

    Hello my friends! I hope we are all keeping cool in this very hot summer. If you’re reading this from somewhere that it isn’t summer, just know I envy you. I’m sure this makes me a party pooper, but the novelty of summer heat wears off PRETTY fast when you’re not a kid and it’s no longer acceptable to sit in the kiddie pool in your backyard all day. Instead I have to wear real clothes??? And go to work?? And the whole time I’m thinking of the beach and/ or ice cream (or this Banana Cream Pie tbh) and basically what I’m saying is I think we should all get summer vacation no matter what age/ job we have. Who’s with me!

    This was a pretty lazy segue into this week’s recipe, but really, what better way to enjoy summer than with a Banana Cream Pie? Essentially vanilla pudding with sliced bananas mixed in, this one is ~fancier~ because you make the pudding yourself. Plus did I mention there’s a layer of chocolate in between the graham cracker crust and the filling? Are you sold yet? Cool. The recipe comes from ZoeBakes because we all know I’m obsessed with her, so find the original recipe here.

    Before we get started, here are your 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Seeing a movie in an otherwise empty theater and talking as loud as you please.
    TWO. The caffeine boost of an afternoon iced coffee.
    THREE. The melty consistency of a perfectly toasted marshmallow.
    FOUR. A prosperous herb garden.
    FIVE. Packing a cooler for the beach with watermelon, chips, and ice cold lemonade.

    Let’s bake!!

    Banana Cream Pie

    Prep Time1 hr
    Cook Time15 mins
    Chilling Time2 hrs
    Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: banana, chocolate, cream pie, pudding
    Servings: 8 people

    Ingredients

    Graham Cracker Crust

    • 12 whole graham crackers
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter; melted
    • pinch kosher salt
    • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate; finely chopped

    Banana Filling

    • tsp powdered gelatin; (1 packet)
    • 2 Tbsp cold water
    • 1 egg
    • 3 egg yolks
    • cup white sugar
    • Tbsp cornstarch
    • cups whole milk
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract; or 1 scraped vanilla bean
    • 1 cup heavy cream; whipped to soft peaks
    • 3-4 bananas; cut into coins

    Whipped Cream Topping

    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 2 Tbsp white sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • bittersweet chocolate; for shavings on top

    Instructions

    Graham Cracker Crust

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grind together the graham crackers, butter, brown sugar, and salt until crumbs form, and can hold together when you squeeze some in your hand.
    • Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan, using a small dry measuring cup to maintain an even, flat surface. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set and toasted.
    • Immediately after removing the crust from the oven, sprinkle the bottom with the chopped chocolate, and allow to melt, about 5 minutes. Once the chocolate is fully melted, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer evenly over the entire bottom of the crust and up the sides as desired. Allow to cool before filling.

    Banana Filling

    • In a small bowl, bloom together the gelatin and the 2 Tbsp cold water and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Set aside.
    • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk on medium low until simmering. If you're using a vanilla bean, heat the scraped seeds and pod with the milk now, if you're using vanilla extract, we'll add it later.
    • Slowly, while whisking constantly, drizzle some of the heated milk into the egg mixture. This tempers the eggs so that they won't spontaneously cook when we add them to the hot milk. Once about ⅓ of the milk has been added and the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour all of the egg/ milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and bring to a boil on medium heat.
    • Once the mixture starts to boil, continue to cook, whisking constantly for 3 minutes, until the custard is thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin and vanilla extract (if using) until the gelatin is fully dissolved.
    • Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool to at least room temperature.
    • Once cooled, fold in the softly whipped cream and sliced bananas, then pour the filling into your prepared crust. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until set.

    Whipped Cream + Serving

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until the desired stiffness is reached. Stiffer whipped cream can be piped onto the pie, but I opted for a softer whipped cream that I piled on top, it's up to you!
    • Using a vegetable peeler, shave some of the leftover bittersweet chocolate on top, and serve. YUM!!

    Looking for more pudding pies? Look no further than here, here, and here!

  • Cheesecake Pudding Pie

    Spring has sprung, ladies and gentlemen!!! At least, I hope it has since I have frantically purchased a new pair of rain boots AND a rain coat (from here and here, respectively if you’re at all interested in my shopping problem), so I say bring on those spring showers!!! Also not for nothing, this new rain coat is made from 25 renewed plastic bottles and I feel great about it. ANYWAY, back to food which is the real reason why we’re all here. This weekend I had the pleasure of doing truly nothing- you know when you realize that you have not one single plan for the weekend and suddenly the possibilities are endless? That was me for the first time in WEEKS so I knew I had to make it count. Aside from sleeping until 11 on Saturday, I took a trip to the garden near my house and wandered around the greenhouses with my sister, and then promptly came home to make this pie.

    Adapted from this recipe from The New York Times and created by Erin McDowell, it starts off its life as a heavenly cheesecake pudding, which is essentially created like a pastry cream, only with a generous amount of cream cheese for that classic cheesecake tang. And, because I can never let well enough alone, I decided to jump a step further and pour the whole thing into a graham cracker pie crust and voila! A pie is made!! This could also probably be classified as a lazy person’s cheesecake, because it doesn’t require the temperamental baking in a water bath or hours of chilling, and in a pinch, you could even use a store bought pre-made graham cracker pie crust. I myself discovered that Honey Maid makes boxes of already crushed graham cracker crumbs, which is really a genius idea, and I hope whoever thought of it gets a promotion.

    I even had some leftover filling which I turned into this baby pudding cup!! (And then promptly devoured)

    This recipe could be embellished in all sorts of ways if that was something you wanted to explore, I think next time I may swirl in some raspberry coulis on top because literally why not, you know? For the time being, I topped it with a handful of fresh berries, and I can confirm that the whole pie was gone by the next day. Gone, yes, but certainly not forgotten. Now go forth, and make your cheesecake dreams come true!!

    But first, here are 5 things to be happy about today!!
    ONE.
    Old computer games.
    TWO.
    Mystery books.
    THREE.
    “Adopt Don’t Shop”.
    FOUR.
    Reusable straws.
    FIVE.
    The tropical gradient of a mango skin.

    MAKES: 1 9-inch pie (plus maybe enough filling leftover for one ramekin of pudding!)
    PREP TIME: 45 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 12 minutes
    CHILL TIME: 1½ – 2 hours

    PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS

    5 Tbsp melted, salted butter
    1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
    2 Tbsp sugar

    CHEESECAKE PUDDING FILLING

    2 1/3 cups whole milk
    1/3 cup heavy cream
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    ¾ cup white sugar
    ¼ cup cornstarch
    4 egg yolks
    12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
    Raspberries or other fruit, for decoration

    PIE CRUST STEPS

    ONE. Preheat  your oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, mix together all your crust ingredients until everything is incorporated. The crumbs should be packable and hold together if pinched.

    TWO. Pour the crumbs into a lightly buttered 9-inch pie plate and gently but evenly pack down along the bottom and sides. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the crumbs are toasty. Set aside to cool.


    CHEESECAKE FILLING STEPS

    ONE. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, salt, and a ¼ cup of the white sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

    TWO. In a heat-safe bowl, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar plus the cornstarch to get rid of any lumps. Add in the egg yolks and mix until everything is combined and the eggs are thick and pale yellow.

    THREE. Once the milk has come to a simmer, slowly drizzle about 1/3 of it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that you don’t scramble the eggs. Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour the contents of the bowl into the saucepan with the rest of the warm milk and mix thoroughly.

    FOUR. Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until the mixture gets thick, about 5-6 minutes. At this point, switch to a rubber spatula, scraping the sides of the saucepan as you stir, until large bubbles start to come up to the surface.

    FIVE. Off the heat, stir in the cream cheese and vanilla extract. Push the filling through a sieve to remove any lumps or accidental cooked egg, then pour the filling into your cooled graham cracker crust. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Top with fruit or whipped cream (or both) and enjoy!!!

    XoxoxoxoxoD