Monday, July 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

I love the combination of peanut butter, bananas, and chocolate. Alyssa loves the FLAVOR combination, but she does not like the texture of bananas. So she was a little less enthusiastic about this dessert than the rest of us. However, I loved the topping so much that I think you could just leave out the bananas & it would still be good. Or you could pour some ganache on the bottom crust (instead of bananas), and top it with the vanilla pudding and peanut butter topping. Really--there are a ton of ways you can vary this recipe.

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

Vanilla Wafer Crust:

6 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick, 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons sugar

Banana Pudding Filling:

1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 ripe bananas, peeled
2 tablespoons orange juice

Peanut Butter Topping:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
2/3 cup heavy cream, chilled

Assembly (optional):

1 ripe banana, peeled
1 tablespoon orange juice
Chocolate covered peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the vanilla wafer cookies, butter, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the mixture resembles a moist crumb. Turn the mixture out into your pie plate and press it into the bottom and up the sides. Using the back of a large spoon will help you to create an even crust.

Bake the crust until it is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. If it begins to puff while baking, use the back of the spoon to press it gently down. Allow the baked crust to cool completely.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly, while whisking continuously, stream in the cream, then the milk. Add the egg yolks. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using the tip of the knife or a small teaspoon, scrape the seeds into the saucepan. Whisk until the mixture is combined. Discard the bean.

Turn the heat to medium-high and, whisking occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and stir vigorously for about 2 minutes to release excess heat. Spread the warm pudding over the cooled crust and chill the pie until the filling is completely cool, about 1 hour.

After the filling has chilled, thinly slice the bananas on a diagonal. Toss the slices in the orange juice,. Transfer the banana slices to a paper towel and pat them dry. Arrange them in a single layer over the pudding to cover it completely. Return the pie to the refrigerator while making the peanut butter topping.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and peanut butter, and beat until just combined.

In a clean bowl of a standing mixer, use the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the cream until soft peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until the topping is uniform in color.

Spread the peanut butter layer evenly over the bananas on the pie. Chill for at least 3 hours or as long as 8 hours.

Just before serving, thinly slice the banana on a diagonal and toss it with the orange juice. Arrange the banana slices around the top edge of the pie, then arrange chocolate-covered peanuts around the edges of the banana slices, if desired. (I used chocolate shavings to garnish the pie instead.) Serve immediately.

The pie tastes best if eaten within 24 hours. On the rare occasion that you have leftovers, wrap the pie in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

Recipe source: Baked Explorations

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