Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Banana Pudding Pie with Whiskey Maple Cream

I'm not sure where I got the idea to make this since I'd never had any kind of banana pudding dessert before.  But I happened to have 3 spotty bananas and a pre-made Nilla-wafer pie crust that had been sitting in the pantry for a few months; both of which were making me sad.  This pie made me very very happy.  And honestly what else can you do with a Nilla-wafer crust anyway?

Don't happen to have a pre-made pie crust on-hand?  Evidently you can make one using 35 Nilla wafers and half a stick of butter.  I wouldn't bother though, since it would be equally good using the whole cookies interspersed with the bananas or crushed graham crackers or gingersnaps.  Or you could go straight-up pudding with cream, both of which are rather amazing on their own.  You could even cut corners further and use an instant pudding if you're really really pressed for time, but those scary things in the boxes are teeth-achingly sugary and evidently high in sodium too.  This version, adapted from Smitten Kitchen, is just lightly sweet and really highlights the vanilla and bananas.  I foolishly used the entire recipe in the pie, so will do a double batch next time to avoid such regret.

The whipped cream was the shining star, as it often is.  The booze gives it a good kick and really compliments the filling nicely.  Make this today.  Your friends and belly will thank you.

Banana Pudding Pie with Whiskey Maple Cream

Makes 1 x 9" pie (serves 8)
Total time: 3 hours (Active time 20 minutes if you cut corners, 60 if you don't)

  • 9" vanilla wafer crust (pre-made or otherwise or see above for alternate suggestions)
  • 3 overripe bananas, sliced
  • 3 cups of warm vanilla pudding (pre-made or see below)
  • whiskey maple cream (see below)
  • Optional toppings:  one additional sliced banana, few tablespoons chopped pecans, few tablespoons melted butterscotch chips, dried banana chips

Arrange about 1/3 of the banana slices on the pie crust and top with 1/2 of your pudding.  Repeat the layer finishing with the last of the banana slices.  Chill for 2 hours until the pudding is set. 

Top with whiskey maple cream and other garnishes just before serving.

Vanilla Bean Pudding
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Makes 3 cups (4-6 servings or one pie)
Total time: 2 1/2 hours (Active time 30 minutes)

  • 2 3/4 cups whole or 2% milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, added just before chilling)
  • 1 egg

Add 2 cups of milk to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat.  While the milk is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean seeds in a medium bowl and add empty vanilla bean pod to the heating milk. 

Whisk the remaining 3/4 cup of milk into the dry ingredients gradually (I did this in 1/4 cup increments, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps), then whisk in the egg.  Once the saucepan has reached a boil, remove the vanilla bean pods and slowly add the milk to the cold mixture, whisking constantly (I also did this in 1/4 cup increments to avoid a scrambled egg situation).

Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan on medium-low heat and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly with a spatula.  Let it simmer for about a minute once it reaches a boil (it will get extremely thick very quickly).  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract if not using vanilla beans, and either set aside for use in banana pie or pour into serving containers and chill for 2 hours to set.

Professional recommendation.
Via Dickel.com

Whiskey Maple Whipped Cream

Makes enough to cover a 9" pie, plus a bit for snacking on
Total time: 5 minutes (or 20 if you do this by hand, but lord that's a lot of work)

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Whip cream, salt, and sugar in a large bown with an electric mixer or whisk until stiff and holds soft peaks.  Sprinkle whiskey and maple syrup over the top and fold in using a spatula. 

Top banana pie or enjoy on something equally delicious.  Cream will hold up in the fridge for several hours before using.


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