Saturday, June 9, 2012

Banana Creme Pie Gone Bad

The bunch of banana's on the counter were mottled and starting to smell a bit too ripe. As the fruit flies hovered I was planning on making a gluten free banana bread. Then I thought, "why not a banana cream pie?" After all it's only three times the work!

First I mixed a gluten free nut crust. This crust is always good. I'll have to post the recipe sometime.

Rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and brown sugar.

Mix in 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts and 1/3 cup butter. Pat into pan and bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes.

Seven minutes would have been better.

All the recipes for banana cream pie that I looked up called for vanilla pasty cream with slices of banana mixed in. But that makes for a chunky cream pie. Cream pies are smooth and luscious. Not chunky. I didn't want bits of banana floating around in my cream pie. A quick blend and the banana's were pulverized to a soupy paste.

Then it was time to make a batch of homemade pastry cream and mix that into the soupy banana's. After at least an hour in the fridge the mixture hadn't set. Either I didn't use enough corn starch or the soupy banana's were reacting in some way with the corn starch that I did use. So back to the burner. I added more corn starch and some xanthan gum for good measure.

 It seemed to thicken. When cool it had a good texture as I poured it into the pie crust.

Topped with whipped cream and some caramelized banana slices.

Looks good, right? The real truth is that a squishy banana is always gross. Mixing a pulverized banana with vanilla pastry cream does not elevate the banana. Rather it brings down the pastry cream. Sure, it is creamy, smooth, and luscious; but the squashed banana smell lingers as you swallow your first bite. You have to wonder, "do i really want another?"

Lesson learned: Pastry cream should be vanilla or chocolate but never banana!

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