Banana Cream Pie with Almond Shortbread







The first week of August, right after my shoulder surgery, my mom came to stay with me for a week while my husband was out of town.  And although she was here to take care of me, I really struggled with the need to do things myself.  It's hard to believe that was three months ago, and while I haven't yet regained all of the strength and flexibility I had before the surgery, I'm getting stronger every day.

I even mowed the grass, raked leaves and painted the inside of our coat closet last Sunday, (not to mention helped my husband lay the hardwood floor in our living room) which was a big accomplishment.  I finally feel like I may be starting to reach the point where I actually believe that after the pain of the physical therapy is done, my shoulder might be better off than it was before.

But that week in August, my mom and I planned a special dinner for my husband for his arrival back into town, and I was determined to make this pie without help.  And so I did, pressing the shortbread into the tart pan, whisking the custard, spreading the cream over the top, all without the help of my right arm.

The left-handed photos were a challenge, so I didn't manage to take too many, but enough to tempt you with buttery almond shortbread topped with bananas, rich vanilla custard and whipped cream cheese.

And although I made this in the summer, I think a drizzle of almost-burnt salted caramel sauce would make it perfectly fall-ish, don't you?










Banana Cream Pie with Almond Shortbread
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Custard.
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Crust.
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
Cream.
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Custard.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream, vanilla bean seeds, sugar and cornstarch.  Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks to break them up.  When the milk mixture begins to bubble around the edges, slowly stream about a cup of the hot milk into the eggs, whisking them constantly to temper them.  Scrape the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan.

Whisking constantly, bring the custard to a boil over medium heat, then cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, right against the surface of the custard.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.  (While the custard is chilling, prepare the crust.)

Slice the bananas, toss with the lemon juice and fold into the cooled custard, then spread into the crust.  Refrigerate while you prepare the cream topping.

Crust.
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, almonds and salt.  Process until the almonds are finely ground.  With the processor running, add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, just until moistened.  Add the egg yolk and almond extract and pulse a few times to incorporate.  The mixture should resemble moist cornmeal.

Spray a 9-inch round tart pan with a removeable bottom with non-stick spray.  Pile the dough crumbs into the pan, and spread out to the edge.  Firmly press down against the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Spray a piece of foil with non-stick spray and place the foil, greased side down, against the frozen crust, fitting it closely to the crust.  Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil and set aside.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake crust, uncovered, for an additional 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Set aside to cool completely.

Cream Topping.
Place the cream cheese, cream, powdered sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Use an electric mixer to beat until thick and creamy.  Spread over the filling.

Refrigerate the pie for several hours before serving.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen