CRUST: 28 minutes
CUSTARD: 20 minutes + 4 hours to chill
MERINGUE: 20 minutes
There’s hardly a prettier pie than this cool, creamy banana cream pie. Cradled in a decadent chocolate-topped vanilla wafer crust and topped with an airy, lightly browned meringue, it’s a guaranteed favorite dessert. This recipe can be made egg-free; see instructions.
MAKES ONE 9-INCH PIE.
2 large or 3 medium ripe bananas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, shaken (about 13/4 cups)
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Jules’ Homemade All-Purpose Flour Blend or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter or dairy-free alternative, cut into small pieces
2 cups crushed Vanilla Wafers or gluten-free vanilla wafers of choice (40 small cookies)
4-6 tablespoons melted butter or dairy-free alternative
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1. Slice bananas thinly and brush with lemon juice to prevent browning.
2. Place bananas, coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, flour blend, vanilla and salt in a blender or large food processor and process until smooth.
3. Pour mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until it thickens and begins to bubble, about 12 to 14 minutes. Once boiling, stir constantly 1 to 2 minutes to continue to thicken; then remove from heat. Mixture should be thick enough so that the spoon leaves a trail behind it as mixture is stirred.
4. Remove from heat and stir in butter pieces until melted. Let cool slightly. Then transfer mixture to a glass or metal bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the mixture so it doesn’t form a “skin.” Refrigerate while you prepare the crust.
5. Preheat oven to 375°F.
6. To make the crust, place vanilla wafer crumbs in a bowl and stir in 4 tablespoons melted butter with a fork until all crumbs are moistened and mixture begins to hold together. Add more melted butter, as necessary, until mixture can be pressed against the side of the bowl and retain its shape. Press mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a deep 9-inch pie pan.
7. Place crust in preheated oven and bake 8 minutes. Crust should be slightly bubbly but not browning yet.
8. Gently melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave in a glass bowl, stirring often to prevent chocolate from burning. Spoon melted chocolate over baked crust and spread it evenly to the edges using a rubber spatula. Set crust aside to cool.
9. Pour custard filling over cooled crust and smooth with a rubber spatula. (If not serving pie the same day, cover custard loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
10. Preheat oven to 375°F.
11. To make meringue, beat egg whites with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer at high speed until foamy, at least 5 minutes. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat until sugar is fully integrated and stiff peaks form.
12. Spread meringue evenly over banana filling, spreading to the edges.
13. Place in preheated oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue peaks are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
14. When cool, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until pie is very cold. The pie may be a bit runny when sliced if not refrigerated overnight.
For Egg-Free Banana Cream Pie, omit 6 egg yolks in the filling. Reduce butter to 1 tablespoon. Combine 6 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water (enough to make a wet paste). Use this mixture to replace the egg yolks in step 2.
For Egg-Free Meringue, omit 4 egg whites. Drain 3/4 to 1 cup liquid from a can of salt-free or low-salt garbanzo beans or white beans into a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment. (Save beans for another use.) Beat liquid until it starts to froth, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and beat until combined. Increase cream of tartar to 1/2 teaspoon and add to mixture, along with 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum) and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Taste and add more vanilla, if desired. Spread meringue evenly over filling. To brown egg-free meringue, preheat oven to high-broil. Place pie on middle rack and bake 2 to 3 minutes until meringue tips brown. Watch very closely so meringue doesn’t burn.
If you’re not serving the whole pie right away, refrigerate egg-free meringue in a covered bowl and serve only what you need. If it loses volume in the refrigerator, re-whip before serving.
Pie yields 10 slices. Each slice contains 566 calories, 30g total fat, 18g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 170mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 70g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 47g sugars, 6g protein, 42Est GL.
Associate editor Jules Shepard is author of Free For All Cooking (DaCapo Perseus), The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free (DaCapo Perseus) and Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating (CreateSpace).Yields 10 slices