'Nana Cream Pie

'Nana Cream Pie
Squire Fox
Provided by:
total prep


Leave it to a baker to be caught without any whole milk in the fridge. That was me one Sunday, and I was craving pie. Luckily, I had some half-and-half on hand, and that was the ahamoment that resulted in this rich, custardy pie. It gets a shot of banana liqueur too, which adds a whole other layer of flavor.

Something about the flavor of Nilla wafers brings a warm, comforting feeling. Maybe it’s because it’s a cookie we all snacked on as children. This rustic piecrust has a crunchy texture, making it the perfect match for cream pie fillings.

Excerpted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day/Artisan Books, 2012.

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons banana liqueur, such as crème de banana, or 2 teaspoons banana extract
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 1 recipe Nilla Wafer Piecrust, prebaked (see recipe below)
  • Three large bananas, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, plus more for decorating
  • 1 recipe Fresh Whipped Cream (see recipe below)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
  • Nilla wafers for decorating
  • NILLA WAFER PIECRUST(makes one 9-inch piecrust):
  • 3 1/2 cups Nilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • FRESH WHIPPED CREAM (makes about 3 cups):
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  • To make the crust: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Put the cookies in a zip-top plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin until they become coarse crumbs. Alternatively, pulse the cookies in a food processor. You should have 2 cups.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), mix the cookie crumbs, flour, sugar, salt, and butter on low speed until the crumbs and flour are evenly moistened, 3 to 5 minutes. You may be tempted to add more butter--don’t.
  • Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely before filling.

  • To make the filling: In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick and pale in color. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the half-and-half to just below a boil. Whisk about 1 cup of the hot half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks, so they won’t curdle, then, continuing to whisk, add the remainder of the half-and-half in a steady stream.
  • Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and banana liqueur or extract until well combined. Let the filling mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter until the custard is smooth and silky. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard so that a skin does not form and let cool for 30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature.
  • When the filling has cooled, pour half of it into the prepared piecrust. Add a layer of the sliced bananas, followed by the rest of the filling. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

  • To make the fresh whipped cream: Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl--using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.

  • Pile the whipped cream on top of the pie with a spatula. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg and decorate with vanilla wafers and banana slices. The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

  • Tip: Here is a great way to prevent bananas from turning brown in your pie. Using a pastry brush. Brush them with lemon or orange juice. Other liquids you can use are lime juice, pineapple juice, orange soda, or lemon-lime soda.