I went to college at Georgia Tech, so I am pretty comfortable with my lot in life as a nerd. And as a nerd, I know that Pi is 3.14159... However, I distinctly remember a tutor my freshman year sitting at a white board writing out probably dozens of the digits. That he had memorized. In his spare time. For fun. So call me a nerd, but in college, I like to think I was actually kind of cool (compared to the rest of my school, that is).
So why am I talking about Pi? Well March 14th is 3/14, which is affectionately referred to as "Pi Day." Our college also hosted a road race called the "Pi Mile," which was, you guessed it, 3.14 miles. I told you I went to a nerdy school.
Around the blog world, fellow nerds like to celebrate Pi Day by baking a pie. And wouldn't you know, my turn to host Project Pastry Queen fell on 3/13. I have been dying to make this pie, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. This pie is kind of a big undertaking. Let's break down what we have here: A homemade pie crust, topped with melted chocolate, peanut butter, a vanilla-bean-banana custard filling, homemade hot fudge sauce, and freshly whipped cream. That is a lot of components. And it dirties a lot of dishes - just ask Joey, my trusty dish washer.
But again, let's look at what we have here. How could that not be the best pie ever? The crust is one of the flakiest crusts I've ever made, and I think this will be my standard pie crust from now on. After the crust is baked and cooled, it is brushed with bittersweet chocolate, then that is topped with a layer of peanut butter and sliced bananas. The real star here though, is the custard filling. It is a typical vanilla bean custard, but it is stabilized by gelatin that has been dissolved in banana liqueur. I had never used it in a recipe before, but it was actually kind of fun - it smells like banana laffy taffy (which I happen to love. Don't judge)! The pie is then topped with more bananas and chilled overnight. When you are ready to serve, you make hot fudge sauce and whip some cream, and you are good to go.
Even though there seems to be a lot going on here, it all works well together and all the flavors play harmoniously off each other. Peanut butter, bananas, and chocolate are all made to go together, so this pie is truly (and incredibly rich and decadent) work of art.
Check out how everyone else liked this pie, and come back next week for Rebecca's take on crabcakes!
Franny's Fave Peanut Butter-Banana Cream Pie with Hot Fudge Sauce
The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 2/3 cup (11 Tbs) chilled unsalted butter
- 4-5 Tbs ice water
- 1/4 cup banana liqueur, such as creme de banane
- 1 envelope + 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 3/4 cups milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 Tbs corn starch
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 2 ripe bananas
- lemon-lime soda
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- pinch salt
- 1-2 Tbs whiskey (optional)
- 2 cups chilled heavy cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the flour, salt, and sugar on low speed for about 30 seconds. Cut the chilled butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the butter to the flour mixture and combine on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture looks crumbly, with bits of dough the size of dried currants. Add 4 tablespoons of ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing on low speed for 10 seconds after each addition. After the last addition, the dough should start to stick together. If not, continue to mix about 10 more seconds. If it is still dry and crumbly, add the remaining tablespoon of water. Gently mold the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Unwrap the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a 1/8-inch thick circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate (I actually had quite a bit of dough left over after I trimmed it). To keep the dough from sticking, gently pick up the dough periodically as you roll it out and rotate it in place, adding more flour as necessary.
Wrap the dough lightly over the rolling pin and set it in the ungreased pie plate. Press it into place and crimp the outside edges with your fingers or a fork. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the unbaked crust. cover the bottom and sides of the crust with a sheet of parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights. If the crust isn't golden-brown, return to the oven for 1-3 minutes. Cool on a rack until the custard filling is ready.
To make the filling: Pour the banana liqueur into the bowl of a double boiler, and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Allow to soften for 5 minutes. Set the bowl over a small saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water and warm the gelatin until it has completely dissolved and looks clear. Remove from heat and set aside.
Cut the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise. Combine with the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let the vanilla steep in the milk while preparing the yolk mixture.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add the sugar gradually, whisking constantly until the mixture lightens in color to a lemony hue. Whisk in the cornstarch. Pour the milk through a strainer into a glass measuring cup or a pitcher with a spout. Slowly pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan set over medium heat and whisk constantly until it begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat and whisk for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture, being sure to incorporate it thoroughly. Let the filling cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, cooking 20-30 seconds at a time. Using a pastry brush, evenly coat the bottom and sides of the crust with the chocolate. Refrigerate the pie crust while the chocolate hardens and sets, 10-15 minutes.
Slice the bananas diagonally and brush them with lemon-lime soda to prevent discoloration. Spread the peanut butter evenly over the bottom of the baked crust. Layer on half the banana slices, all the filling, and the remaining slices.
Cover the pie with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic comes in direct contact with any custard that isn't covered by a banana. Refrigerate the pie overnight before serving.
To make the fudge sauce: Heat the cream and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar is dissolved, stir in the butter, chocolate chips, and bittersweet chocolate. Stir over medium-low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the salt and remove from heat. Stir in the whiskey and cover to keep warm until ready to serve the pie. The sauce can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat.
To make the topping: Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes (do not overbeat). Whip in the powdered sugar.
To serve the pie, cut it into wedges, add a dollop of whipped cream, and top with hot fudge sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts if desired (I forgot to do this!).