Alright everyone, I’m entering a pie contest.
I’ve decided to enter my Bananaganache Pie. The crazy thing is, they require a recipe. Even though I’ve made up bunches of them, I’ve never written one down. Chalk up another one for new experiences!
Recipe for Bananaganache Pie:
4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
6 oz. whipped topping
whipped topping for garnish
1 box of instant banana cream pudding prepared (requires 2 cups of milk)
1 9 inch pie crust (see homemade crust recipe below)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sweet and Flaky Crust
1/3 cup very cold shortening
3 cups of flour
12 tablespoons of very cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup icy cold water
1 1/2-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt and pulse about 10 times to combine. Add butter and shortening to processor bowl and pulse until butter is in pea-sized pieces. While processor is running, slowly add ice water. Dough will form a ball.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3o minutes. This makes enough for a top and a bottom crust, and you will only need half for this recipe. The remaining half may be stored for 2 or 3 days wrapped tightly in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out one half of the dough onto a floured surface into a circle to fit a nine-inch pie plate. Transfer the crust into the pie plate and crimp the outside crust. To pre-bake the crust, line it with foil that is tall enough to hold in pie weights (I use dried beans) and fill with weights. Bake the pie shell on a lower rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the foil (pie beans inside of it) and place the crust back on the lower rack of the oven. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove pie crust from oven and let cool completely on a rack.
Now for the filling. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, whipped topping and banana cream pudding with a mixer on low speed. Set aside.
To prepare chocolate gananche, use a double boiler on the stove top. (This means to simmer some water in a saucepan and put a bowl over it to melt stuff. You use a double boiler when you don’t want chocolate to get burned.) In the bowl, combine half and half, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Stir until melted over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about five minutes.
Spread chocolate ganache over the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. Slice bananas and arrange half of them on top of the chocolate layer. Next, cover bananas with pie filling. Arrange remaining banana slices on top of filling in a decorative pattern.
Garnish with whipped topping.Grate the baking chocolate and sprinkle on top of the pie.
Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
I’ve baked a lot of pies in the last couple of months–well over 70. It started with a crazy birthday challenge I gave myself–my goal was to bake a pie every day during the 40 days that led up to my 40th birthday. That’s how my blog got started. I did it–and then some. During those 40 days, I baked 63 pies. I used a lot of recipes to make the pies. Some from pie cookbooks, some from “church-lady” cookbooks, some that friends and family shared.
But Bananaganache was the first one I made that was all my idea. The pie is a delicious reflection of my life.
Take the crust, for instance…sweet and flaky. It sums me up perfectly. Even though I call the crust “flaky,” it’s really quite reliable. I always wanted to see myself as zany, unpredictable, and spontaneous, but deep down what I really need for life to be peaceful is sweetness and reliability. This recipe is both sweet and reliable–if I take the time to follow the plan.
Bananas in this pie were completely a result of resourcefulness. We had them in the kitchen. They needed to be used. Same with the pudding and cream cheese. I was determined to make the pie out of stuff I already had.
I grew up in a family with five children –I was the youngest. My father and particularly my mother were masters of resourcefulness. They used what they had and were grateful for it. And if they didn’t have what they needed, they found another way. I’m thankful to have gotten just a little bit of that from them. Just ask my kids about “Iron Chef Pantry” nights.
The chocolate gananche is in the pie because everything is better with chocolate. It reminds me that under every experience–sweet and not so sweet–is a layer of something richer. Something unexpected. Sometimes it takes some time to get to the richer layer of life, but if we are patient, there can be a sweet reward waiting.
Lastly, a word about the toppings. That last bit of decoration really makes the pie for me. Sure, you could serve it without the stuff on top, but why? Pretty much every thing I’ve been through in the first forty years of my life has been about ONE choice–how I’m going to react to what happens.
I pray for more and more days of seeing my life like a perfectly topped, delicious treat with scrumptious, sweet layers–not just stuff I had around that ended up all together.
That’s my plan for the next 40 years. Take what you’ve got around each day, and make it into something delicious that you can share!