I've met some ghastly versions of this old favorite lately from people who should know better---one of the worst being a piece with two, count 'em, two pieces of banana in the serving.
Here's how to do it the old fashioned way.
1. use cooked cream filling: this means lots of slow stirring until it thickens. Have it right at the edge of boiling.
2. hand-made pie crust, from scratch, and if you have to err, err on the side of too much rather than too little shortening: it's even better if you 'cut' shortening into your flour and then leave it in the fridge overnight. You then roll it one way, fold, roll again at a 180 degree rotation, fold again, rotate 45 degrees, 45 and 45, then roll out: this gives you really flaky crust.
3. lay out your pie crust in a very lightly greased dish and penetrate the crust before baking with numerous fork-tine jabs: this means the moisture can get up from the bottom and won't leave you with soggy crust. Bake until the whole crust is crispy golden brown, not pasty white barely done.
4. Slice a couple of nice bananas. Lay them all over the hot pie crust---the REALLY hot pie crust, until they totally coat the bottom. Then pour in the boiling hot cream filling. This cooks the bananas on the spot.
5. Whip up a real meringue, with real vanilla, and if you're scared of raw egg, just be careful not to pass the egg-white over the shells and you'll have taken a major step in food safety. Not foolproof but I've reached many years without dying of salmonella, thank you. Daub it onto the hot cream, flick it up in peaks, and pop it back in the oven to brown nicely.
THe same filling can also be put into a bowl lined with Nabisco Vanilla wafers alternated with banana [boiling hot filling] and layers of cream filling, to about 3 such layers, top with meringue, bake, and you've got banana cream pudding...
OR done with coconut lining the crispy baked pie crust and dusted over the filling before the meringue goes on, and once more onto the meringue and you get---ta da! Coconut Creme Pie.
This is a recipe that should use 'real' ingredients...and in which technique counts for a lot of how it turns out. You could do it all---and not crisp the pie crust, not poke holes in it, let the cream filling cool before adding it, and not flick up points on your meringue and you'd have a not-so-good pie, even with the best recipe and the best ingredients.
HTH, young cooks!
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