Woo Hoo!! ‘You Want Pies With That?’ is officially up and running again! And Jessica and I got to choose this month’s theme- “Spring”. Spring is fresh. New. What better theme to have in mind while making pies?! For some reason Banana Cream Pie instantly came to mind while I was pondering what pie I would make. It always makes me think of Spring for some reason. No idea why. But instead of the traditional pie form, I chose to kick it up a notch or two by making it into a tart and adding in a little dark rum to the pastry cream (yum!).
This is Dorie Greenspan’s recipe- and there are none better, in my opinion. The sour cream in the whipped cream topping sets it apart from any other would-be “awesome” banana cream pies. And I must say, the added rum in the pastry cream really sends it home- I was more than pleased with my tart! Fresh, fruity, creamy, slightly tangy – a perfect Spring pie, in my opinion!
Banana Cream Tart
For the Custard
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dark rum
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
3 ripe but firm bananas
1 9-inch single tart crust
For the Topping
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste- that’s why you see the little specks in the topping)
2 tablespoons sour cream
To Make the Custard: bring milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt until well blended and thick. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 of the hot milk- this will temper, or warm the yolks so they won’t curdle- then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes before removing from heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract and rum. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. You can either press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard until cold or, if you want to cool the custard quickly put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir occasionally until the custard is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes. (If it’s more convenient, you can refrigerate the custard, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.)
When you are ready to assemble the tart, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about one quarter of it over the bottom of the crust- it will be a thin layer. Top with half of the banana slices. Repeat, adding a thin layer of pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry cream over the last layer of bananas.
To Make the Topping: Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the sour cream.
To Finish: Spoon the whipped cream over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard. Serve, or refrigerate until needed.
Sweet Tart Dough
(makes one 9-inch crust)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
To make the dough: Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the workbowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely – you’ll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that’s just fine. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses – about 10 seconds each – until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before your reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change – heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.
Very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
Butter the tart pan and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be stingy – you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don’t be too heavy-handed – you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don’t want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbreadish texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust. Bake the crust 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack; keep it in its pan.