Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Banana Cream Pie

This morning I was thinking about what we need, dessert-wise, this time of year. The holiday gorging is behind us (thankfully) but that doesn't mean we don't want a slice of comfort every now and then. Something cool and creamy that hits the spot but won't do too much damage would be perfect. This recipe is adapted from The Food Network's Ellie Krieger's highly-rated banana cream pie. Reviewers loved it but there were consistent suggestions for a few changes to make it spectacular, which I've incorporated here*. Ellie's recipes are always terrific and the bonus is that they are the result of a make-over. As a nutritionist who loves food, she has found a way to duplicate the taste and texture of our favorite recipes using less fat and sugar, and overall healthier ingredients. I'll be writing a lot about my favorite EK recipes which is a good thing as we try to incorporate healthier eating in 2010.

Banana Cream Pie

  • Cooking spray
  • 14 graham cracker squares (7 full sheets)*original recipe called for 6 full sheets
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 tbsp. sugar *origindal recipe called for 1/3 cup sugarplus 1 tsp.
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract*original recipe called for 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups sliced banana (3 medium bananas)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream *use more, according to reviewers, up to 3x more
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a food processor, process graham crackers until finely ground. Add butter and 1 tablespoon of water, and process until the crumb clumps together. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pie plate and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then let cool.

In the meantime, make the filling. Put the gelatin in a small bowl; add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup of sugar and the flour. In a medium bowl lightly beat the milk and eggs together. Add the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk so the flour and sugar dissolve. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes, until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract and gelatin. Set aside to cool slightly.

Arrange the sliced bananas on the graham cracker crust and pour the pudding on top. Place in the refrigerator until the pudding has set, about 3 hours.

Whip the cream with an electric beater. When it is about halfway done, add 1 tbsp. of sugar, then continue whipping until fully whipped. Put the whipped cream in a plastic bag, concentrating it in 1 corner of the bag. Snip that corner off the bag and squeeze the whipped cream out of the bag in a decorative pattern around the pie.

Photo credit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/banana-cream-pie-recipe/index.html

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