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RECIPE: From our Newspaper: Cream Pies for the Holidays!

18 years ago

Here are some more recipes from our newspaper:

Banana cream pie and variations

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, 6 to 8 servings

2 cups milk

5 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 to 4 unbruised, not-too-ripe bananas (enough to make about 2 cups sliced banana)

One (9-inch) pie shell, baked and cooled

2 cups chilled whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Heat almost to boiling point. Keep hot.

Put the 5 egg yolks into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use regular egg beaters with a portable mixer). Beat at medium speed, gradually pouring in the cup of sugar. Raise speed to high and beat until mixture thickens and turns a very pale ivory color.

Beat in the flour. While still beating, gradually pour in the hot milk.

Pour and scrape contents of bowl back into saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wire whisk (or beating with a portable electric mixer). Scrape bottom of pan with a spatula frequently, to make sure mixture is not sticking and scorching. It will get lumpy, but smooth back out again. When mixture comes to boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, still stirring and scraping.

Remove from heat and beat in vanilla extract. Refrigerate until cold. (To prevent a skin from forming, top warm custard with small pieces of butter, or place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of custard.)

After pastry cream has chilled, slice the bananas and fold 2 cups of slices into the pastry cream. Turn into the pie shell and smooth the top.

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat the whipping cream and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar until just stiff. Spoon over top of pie, or pipe into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and cover pie with whipped cream stars. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Variations:

Chocolate cream pie. Omit bananas and tablespoon of vanilla extract. Melt 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Cool slightly, then fold into warm pastry cream along with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Top finished pie with chocolate curls or a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Raspberry cream pie. Omit bananas. Reduce vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons and add 2 tablespoons of Chambord or raspberry vodka (optional) to custard. Thaw 2 cups frozen, unsweetened raspberries in microwave. Drain to remove excess liquid, then fold into cooled pastry cream.

Strawberry cream pie. Follow instructions for raspberry cream pie, but omit liqueur or vodka. You can also add 2 tablespoons of Cointreau or Grand Marnier for a strawberry-orange cream pie.

Coffee cream pie. Omit bananas. Crush 3/4 cup of French or espresso roast coffee beans. Combine with 3 cups of milk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down to remove as much milk as possible. Measure 2 1/2 cups of coffee-flavored milk to make the custard. Cover top of pie with chocolate curls or espresso powder, or place a border of chocolate-covered espresso beans in whipped cream rosettes around edge of pie.

Apricot cream pie. Omit bananas. Drain a 550-gram jar of apricot compote and roughly chop the apricots. Fold into custard. (Look for apricot compote at specialty-food stores or order from The Baker's Catalogue at shop.bakerscatalogue.com online. You could also use plain canned apricots, but the imported compote usually has better flavor.)

- Rebecca Boren

Triple coconut cream pie

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, 6 to 8 servings

For the coconut pastry cream

2 cups milk

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

2 large eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

For the pie

1 (9-inch) coconut pie shell (see at right), prebaked and cooled

2 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For garnish

2 ounces unsweetened "chip" or large-shred coconut

Chunks of white chocolate (4 to 6 ounces, to make 2 ounces of curls)

To make the pastry cream, combine the milk and coconut in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the seeds and pod to the milk mixture. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until the mixture almost comes to a boil.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour until well-combined. Temper the eggs (to keep them from scrambling) by pouring a small amount (about 1/3 cup) of the scalded milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Then add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan of milk and coconut. Whisk over medium-high heat until the pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble. Keep whisking until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes more. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the butter and whisk until it melts. Remove and discard the vanilla pod. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place it over a bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until it is cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a crust from forming, and refrigerate until cold. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools.

When the pastry cream is cold, fill the prebaked pie shell with it, smoothing the surface. In an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla on medium speed. Gradually increase the speed to high, and whip to peaks that are firm enough to hold their shape. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream, and pipe it all over the surface of the pie, or spoon it over.

For the garnish, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut chips on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, watching carefully and stirring once or twice, since coconut burns easily, until lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape about 2 ounces of the white chocolate into curls. Decorate each piece of pie with the toasted coconut and white chocolate curls just before serving.

Coconut pie shell

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup ice water, or more as needed

In a food processor, combine the flour, coconut, diced butter, sugar and salt. Pulse to form coarse crumbs, gradually adding the water a tablespoon at a time. Use only as much water as is needed to hold the dough together when gently pressed between your fingers. The dough will not form a ball or even clump in the processor.

Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto it. Pull the plastic wrap around the dough, forcing it into a rough flattened round. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling.

Unwrap the round of dough and put it on a lightly floured work board. Flour the rolling pin and your hands. Roll the dough out into a circle about 1/8 -inch thick. Add more flour if it seems to stick. Trim to a 12- to 13-inch circle.

Ease the rolled dough to a 9-inch pie pan. Don't stretch the dough at this point because it will shrink when it is baked. Trim any excess to a 1- to 1 1/2-inch overhang. Turn the dough under along the rim of the pie pan and use your finger to flute the edge. Chill the unbaked pie shell at least an hour before baking.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper in the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the crust until the pastry rim is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pie pan from the oven. Remove the foil and beans and return the crust to the oven. Bake until the bottom of the crust has golden-brown patches, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before filling.

- From: "Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen" by Tom Douglas with Denis Kelly,

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