Thursday, February 23, 2012

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

Please tell me if I'm being petty. Maybe all of this food blogging has skewed my view of reality.

Here's the situation:

Friends invited us over for dinner this past weekend.  Well, initially they invited us over a month ago and then cancelled.  Then they rescheduled about 2 weeks ago.  We've had dinner parties with this couple before and it has always been enjoyable. In the past, we've had meals like BBQ steak, thai chicken pasta, skirt steak, BBQ chicken, etc. at each other's homes. So, not gourmet, but made from scratch meals that require some effort from the host.

When I received the invitation, I offered to bring something. In the end, we decided that I would bring dessert. I set out scouring recipes on the internet. I even asked for feedback on options I was considering on Twitter. I spent the majority of my Saturday getting the groceries and making this recipe that I found on Slow Like Honey.

(story to be continued after recipe...)

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie
Adapted from: Food and Wine, November 2011
Servings: 10-12 servings

1 1/2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (about 7 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 medium bananas, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate shavings, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9- to 10-inch, deep-dish glass or ceramic pie plate. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and set. Let cool completely.

In a large saucepan (preferably with a rounded bottom), combine the granulated sugar with the cornstarch, egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups of milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the custard is very thick, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is melted. Pour half of the vanilla custard into a medium bowl.

Whisk the chopped chocolate into the custard in the saucepan until it is melted.

Spread the chocolate custard evenly in the pie crust and top with the sliced bananas.

Carefully spread the vanilla custard over the bananas.

Refrigerate the banana cream pie until it is well chilled, at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar until it is softly whipped. Mound the whipped cream on top of the pie. Garnish the banana cream pie with chocolate shavings and serve.

Make Ahead The banana cream pie can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for up to 3 days. The crust can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Verdict: I was really pleased with how the pie turned out. For the second time, my concern about having a crust that falls apart has led me to press the pie crust together quite tightly. As a result, the crust was more difficult to break apart than I would like. The custard was very good. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate. I could only find semi-sweet. Apparently semi-sweet chocolate generally has more sugar in it than bitter-sweet. Personally, even with the semi-sweet chocolate, I found that there was a slight bitterness to the chocolate. But, I should mention that I do not like strong chocolate flavours. I'd take milk chocolate over dark chocolate any day.

Now, back to the story...

We sat down for dinner and were served fries, heated up from a frozen package and meatballs, also store bought and heated up from a frozen state.

I don't get it! Why invite people over for dinner if you don't want to make dinner? Now I'm worrying that something is wrong.  How would you feel if you were invited over for pre-made processed frozen food?



That Girl said...

I guess the answer really depends on if you're going over for the food or the company!

giz said...

Talk to us:

I tried to leave this comment on your recent post, but blogger was being ridiculously uncooperative -

Um, well I think you had low expectations going in and the meal was even lower than expected.

While I don't necessarily expect my friends to cook to our standard (we actually get limited dinner invites as my wife posts our meals regularly on FB and we've heard that it's intimidating, so we tend to only have dinner parties with our foodie friends), this one pretty much sucked. Fries and meatballs? I don't even serve those to my kids!


PG said...

That Girl -- I enjoyed the company. We had a nice conversation and played a fun game. So, the dinner didn't take away from enjoying the evening. But, I was confused and disappointed (and afterwards, concerned) by the meal, particularly after thinking that I smelled BBQ when I got out of the car.

gumshoegirl -- yeah, I guess that's part of it. Although I will occasionally flake out on supper and warm up some M&M, I don't really eat processed food...and I would NEVER serve it to company.

Katie said...

I agree with That Girl. I am a very hesitant hostess and would not be inviting people back if I knew they were judging my cooking (or lack thereof).

PG said...

Katie -- I would never say anything to the host... I'd actually be totally fine with a meal that was a disaster, but involved some effort.

I guess the other part of this is that this friend is a foodie. We talk about restaurants and recipes pretty regularly, so I was just confused about the discordance between her value for good food and what she served.

Torviewtoronto said...

pie looks wonderful deliciously done

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Dessert was certainly awesome even if the meal was lack lustre. I wonder if we put too high of a standard on ourselves. I don't invite people for dinner these days since I work 6 days a week. Maybe my friends would be just as happy with a plate of spaghetti as a leg of lamb.

Beth said...

Mentioned your “lovely” dinner to some friends. Our conclusion? Your hosts were lazy – bordering on rude. But perhaps they were sick? Forgot the date you were coming for dinner?
In my worst cooking moments, I have never served such crap – at least not to guests! ;)

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